Dream But Don't Sleep
The Entrepreneurship Program at Bayview Hunters Point YMCA
Introduction by Christine Chen, 2019 Bank of America Student Leader
“My family moved to the Bayview Hunters Point district nearly ten years ago and at the time, friends and relatives questioned why we did so. The district was notorious for high poverty and crime rates. They didn’t think it would be a good place to raise a family. Over the years, it has become clear to me that there are strong community bonds that course through the neighborhood. The Bayview is home to nearly 35,000 residents, all of whom are extremely bright and filled with great ideas, but many of which do not have the financial means to put those ideas into action.
If you’ve walked through the Bayview Hunters Point area, you’ve likely seen a wall with the words 'Dream but don’t sleep... .' That’s exactly what the Entrepreneurship Program at the Bayview YMCA does. It enables people with great ideas to make those dreams a reality. By providing necessary support and guidance, people with the entrepreneurial spirit are able to jump start their businesses."—Christine Chen, 2019 Bank of America Student Leader
The Need for Workforce Development
In September of 2018, an interesting pattern was emerging inside the walls of Bayview Hunters Point YMCA. Angela Scott, the Workforce Coordinator, was having another sit-down meeting with one of her students about their goals for the future, when the student said, "I want to own my own business."
This was the fifth time she had heard a student make this kind of declaration. And it was the fifth time she was working one-on-one with a student to build a business plan. She realized right then that what Bayview Hunters Point needed was an entrepreneurship program.
Investing in our Youth
"We started this program because we had so many students coming to us saying that they want to start their own business," says Angela Scott, Workforce Coordinator for the Bayview Hunters Point YMCA. "We started by circulating some flyers and soon enough, we had a waiting list."
After consulting with Demetrius Durham, the Director of Transition, Re-engagement, & Employment Services at Bayview Hunters Point YMCA, Angela had a program. Eight young entrepreneurs are on their way to building real business strategies to get their ideas off the ground. And they have funding too.
Thanks to a partnership with Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, this new program has provided participants with a stipend and laptops loaded with software to help start their businesses. The Entrepreneurship Program helps the participants obtain business licenses and sellers permits, and assisted with getting their business names legally verified.
The eight entrepreneurs who are currently building out their businesses are:
A Beauty Bar: Ajiana Daniels and Nadia Neter AA Meri
Children Clothing Designer: Adaysha Patton
Event Planner: Rayshanae Jones
Travel Essentials: Chardee Bryant
Maker Space: Ahmani Baxter
Skin Care Line: Dejanae Gilliam
Videographer/Photographer: Anthony Seupaul
Rayshanae Jones: Event Planner
"My goal is to just continue improving, learning more about businesses, learning more about what I want to do, and hopefully one day, I can throw a huge, extravagant, big party for the YMCA that everybody can come to."—Rayshanae Jones
Rayshanae was the event planner for their Entrepreneurship Program business spotlight event. All the table decorations and aesthetic for the presentation event were art directed by Rayshanae.
Dejanae Gilliam: Skin Care Line
"When I got injured, I didn’t feel like myself, so I wanted to create something to bring that back, as well as put out great products for people who like what I like. I figured I wasn’t going to get back to my normal self if I didn’t try to do the things that I like to do; put on lashes, buy cute girly lip glosses."—Dejanae Gilliam
Dejanae was hit by a stray bullet in college and is now in a wheelchair. Dejanae creates and mixes all natural body butters, lip glosses, and beauty products in her home kitchen.
Dreaming of the Future
Many of these participants hope to own a storefront in the Bayview Hunters Point district in the future. The true success of the Entrepreneurship Program is teaching participants that they can make their dreams come true while strengthening the community as a whole.