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Boys and Girls Club of SE Michigan offering hands on experience to young entrepreneurs

Posted at 7:45 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 19:45:15-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — There is a new vibe in this almost century-old organization. It is like mentoring meets making the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“The Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan is offering paid workforce development to students in high school,” said Sonya Draper.

Sonya Draper heads the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan's Industry Club Program.

Students with no experience can get paid anywhere from $10-$13 an hour to gain the skills, credentials, and all the tools needed for success in starting a business, a career or even owning a home.

“We offer programs within Fashion and Merchandising, also Data Science and Risk Management, and also Sports and Entertainment,” said Draper.

A long title with a narrow focus for students to really see how different communities live. And how to make improvements from the outside in.

“We had students out on scooters out working in the community, doing mapping with map corps,” said Draper.

“We took a look at Highland Park and we compared that to Ferndale to Birmingham to Royal Oak and we looked at what's in those cities and what needs to be in Highland Park, so the students' formulated policies centered around what should be here from urban agriculture to black Wall Street,” Draper added.

“So, you actually made the plans like green space should go here,” said Kemp Weathers Jr. student at the University of Detroit Science and Math High School.

That’s kind of what we did, went to other neighboring cities, saw what they had and how we can institute in Highland Park,” said Weathers, Jr.

We all met inside Detroit is the new Black Store on Woodward Avenue, where there are actual clothes for sale designed by student members of the Fashion Industry Club.

“This is the social justice collection,” said Coordinator of the Fashion Industry Club Alexus Johnson.

Here students learn how to design clothes from scratch, business management, logos, websites, and confidence.

“I was a very closed person. By me being there it's giving me a different atmosphere, it’s growing me even more, I get to see other people grow, I put an impact on or they put an impact on me,” said Ypsilanti’s Lincoln High School student Erica Trussle.

And look out world because 16-year-old Erica Trussle plans to make an impact on fashion.

“I used to think sometimes I was invisible blend in and to know that some camouflage brings you out. You don’t always have to blend in,” said Trussle.

“Oh alright, we're not blending in, we're standing out,” said. WXYZ’s Glenda Lewis as she tries on a Trussle designed coat.