NEXT Steps Youth Entrepreneur Program | 1st QTR'11 Report

Exciting doesn’t even begin to describe what is happening through the NEXT Steps program! We have expanded our reach throughout the Metro Atlanta area and have made more wonderful relationships with the local non-profit community.
By: Dana Jewel Harris
March 14, 2011 - PRLog -- General Administration:
NSYEP has secured a lease agreement to manage a 3.5 acre property in the West End Community of NPU-T.  We will convert the site to a S.T.E.M.-based, environmental training center called Atwood Community Gardens.  Research and discovery activities conducted at Atwood will help students connect their ability to resolve negative socio-economic conditions within their own neighborhoods.  It will also introduce them to career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; encourage healthy lifestyle choices and behaviors; and launch a youth-driven eco-tourism business incubator specifically designed to support the emerging urban agriculture network in the West End community.

Network Services:
With the help of our community partners, we have been extremely successful with introducing the Community Involvement Growth Strategy (CIGS) Organizational Model to 85 students at Harper Archer Middle School (50); West End Academy (15); West End CSI (2); Westminster Academy (14); Hands On Atlanta Global Youth Service Day Youth Project Management Team (4)

NSYEP will be coordinating an Extreme Home Makeover/20th Year Anniversary fundraiser with Sister DeBorah Williams of the Mother Clyde Community Garden to help reconstruct their newly acquired Youth Activity Center.  Our goal is to continue our push towards adopting a community-wide change in healthy living by providing a youth-focused community chef kitchen for cooking classes, slow food meals, and food processing services of garden fresh fruits and vegetables (canning, packaging, sales and distribution).

NSYEP continues to strengthen our community network within the West End through our Open Air Initiative.  Open Air will allow our circle of 18 community partners within a three mile radius of both the Mother Clyde and Atwood Community Gardens to teach environmental stewardship to students in the West End as it relates to watershed preservation, clean air practices, run-off and pollution prevention, grey water recycling and water recapturing strategies, energy, soil and water conservation, and organic gardening and farming. Our partners include: Atlanta Job Corp, West End Watershed Alliance, Zap Asthma, Trees Atlanta/Beltline, Park Pride, Feed My Sheep Ministries, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Environmental Protection Agency, Let’s Raise A Million, Keeping It Wild, Jump Start Youth Development Initiative, To My Sweeties Bakery, Silent Healing Center, FILMAtlanta, Truly Living Well Urban Farms, Center For Sustainable Communities, SMART Academy, Outdoor Activity Center, Metro Atlanta YouthBuild, The National Black Men’s Health Network

Team Operations:
7th & 8th Grade students at Harper Archer Middle School learned how to use the CIGS Model to organize themselves into Project Management Teams. Because their training sessions occur in nine week increments, each team made significant contributions towards completing logistical tasks for their 1st Annual End of the School Year Fashion Show.  With two more Project Management Teams to go, they are three-quarters away from completing their mission.

NSYEP taught 11th and 12th grade students at West End Academy how to design and deliver effective business presentations using Microsoft PowerPoint.  Their presentations had to demonstrate their ability to conduct research on socio-economic conditions of viable markets for international trade (import & export) as well as justify their desire to launch their new business or extend their existing product and service lines in each foreign market.  Their next project will involve developing an in-school store.

Eighth grade students at Westminster Academy are currently using the CIGS Model to establish three key goals as they coordinate their annual service project.  They were given instructions on how to organize their team, assess their resources and tie-in to the Hands On Atlanta Global Youth Service Day event to ensure their philanthropic efforts are meaningful and impactful.

NSYEP training classes are currently being developed for the S.M.A.R.T. Academy/Center for Sustainable Communities (91 students); Atlanta Job Corp Leadership Business/Entrepreneur Workshop (1 week/session); and Truly Living Well Urban Farms

Workshops and Special Events:
April 16 - During Hands On Atlanta’s Global Youth Service Day, youth volunteers will clear and mulch grounds, deconstruct the current community garden beds to create new ones for wheelchair access, and build vertical composting and worm bins.
April 24 – Students from Westminster Academy will host their annual service day event at Atwood Community Gardens
May - NSYEP will assist Dr. Garry Harris, Executive Director of the Centers for Sustainable Communities with their Climate Change Project as they launch a weather balloon 100,000 feet into the atmosphere. 120 Youth will gain experience on how to construct the balloon, attach payloads and environmental data reading equipment, and translate that data into useful information. Event hosted by the 100 Black Men of Atlanta & the S.M.A.R.T. Academy.
June-July - We are gearing up for our second annual S.T.E.M.-based Herb & Farm summer gardening and farming program (8 weeks; Mon-Fri, June 1-Jul 31) at Atwood Community Gardens. Up to 25 students from the Mayor's Youth Program will work with NSYEP and the R.E.D.E.E.M. Youth Outreach Program as we launch our Open Air Initiative.

Although we had a late start applying for grants, we made the most of our time by securing volunteer support through the Atlanta Community Food Bank Community Gardening Program, in-kind donations and services from Hands On Atlanta, and a $100 donation from Wallace Development Corporation.

Current Need
My greatest need to date lies in covering my operating costs of $500-1,000/month which covers fuel costs ($28-35/week), printing costs ($200/toner -4 toners) and paper ($35-50/case). As the sole NSYEP trainer (to date), I would also appreciate a sponsorship of $500-1000/month to help cover my salary.  I have truly enjoyed working with each and every student and wish to continue sharing all that I know with them. If you are interested in sponsoring NSYEP Operations or donating to us, please contact me at 678.570.0398 or or visit our website at and click on the donate button at the bottom of any page.

Atlanta Community Food Bank   28 Volunteers (4 Hours)   $2,160
Hands On Atlanta - Tools, Supplies, Seeds, Worms   $325
Georgia Power - Mulch (two truckloads)   $0
Wallace Development Corporation   Cash Donation      $100
Total Donations:    $2,585

Donation Request Details:
NEXT Steps is trying to raise $1,000 to host our Global Youth Service Day event with Hands On Atlanta on April 16, 2011. Your donation will cover snacks (fresh fruit, granola, energy bars, juice, water and sandwiches) for 65 kids, rental fees for portable toilets, a tent and chairs, and recognition awards for most outstanding student leader and community service volunteer. That's only 40 donations of $25 each (and great marketing opportunities for a corporate sponsor that supports youth activities!!!)  Won't you please help? Your donation will be safely delivered to the NEXT Steps Youth Entrepreneur Program PayPal account. Link:

•   We have updated our photo gallery
•   We are a listed member of the Georgia Center for Non-Profits
•   We presented 10 students from the Priority Male Institute with Certificates of Achievement for successfully completing the NSYEP “Developing A Business Plan Workshop” .
•   We have successfully recruited volunteers through VolunteerMatch and Hands On Atlanta Do Something Good.

My hope is that you believe as much as I do in the potential of our students.  I guarantee you will see the progress and impact our efforts have made in creating "self help" attitudes and behaviors in at-risk youth.

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NEXT Steps equips at-risk, low-income students with quality economic and community development skills through social entrepreneurism, S.T.E.M.-based investigative research and discovery, and community service within the urban agriculture industry.
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Tags:Social Entrepreneurism, Youth, Gardening, Community Development, Fundraising, 501c3, Non-profit, Business Development
Industry:Services, Non profit, Business
Location:Atlanta - Georgia - United States
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