THINK Together’s Noah Teen Center located at the Church of the Episcopal Messiah in Santa Ana has been running a beneficial club for teens called, Biz Kids Club. The teens who join this club receive $50 loan to start their own business. Ten percent of what they make goes back to the Teen Center and the rest goes to paying their initial loan back and their own pocket.
The Biz Kids Club concept was created during a Noah Support Team meeting. The Noah Support Team is comprised of congregation members and their mission is to engage Episcopal Church of the Messiah with Noah Teen Center participants. The Team also supports the Center by building more community support whether it is in the form of snacks, funding, educational supplies, or community resources. It does take a village to provide great resources and opportunities for local youth.
This year, the Noah Support Team consists of Biff Baker, Linda Chapel, Jim Graham, Ann Liu, LuzAnna Figueroa, and THINK Together Site Coordinator Delia Perez who met quarterly to discuss program support, updates, and more. “I don’t know many adults that can say they have started a business let a alone when they were fourteen years old. I think that really builds confidence and faith in your own ability at being self sufficient,” said LuzAnna, Noah Teen Center volunteer and Noah Support Team Chair.
Biz Kids Club hosts sales once a month at Episcopal Church of the Messiah. The students do well at the sales. They had their very first sale in October 2012. Not only is this a great time for students to generate funds for their business but it’s also a great for them to get to know congregation members better. Many of the congregation members donate to the Teen Center, which also makes this a great opportunity for them to meet these teens and learn more about their goals.
The Noah Teen Center staff and volunteers guided the students through the process of determining what personal skills they would use to create a successful business.
“This Club has helped me get more involved and has motivated me to interact with new people,” said 10th grader Karla Bello. Some of the items now being sold through the Biz Kids Club are women’s shirts, artistic greeting cards, handmade jewelry, organic produce, and candle scents with holders.
The Biz Kids Club participants have to create a budget, turn in income and expense reports, balance their checkbooks, sign a loan agreement; they have to complete almost everything that would be done when operating a legitimate business. All of these steps are important in teaching these teens financial literacy. “The program is teaching us how to begin our own business and how to manage money,” says 10th grader Danny Dominguez.
Most of the participants have paid off their loan so they are really seeing the fruits of their labor now. But it’s more than money in the pocket. “Biz Kids has helped my son learn how to work with others and become more social. William is motivated and enjoys spending time with his friends involved in Biz Kids,” said Lourdes Chavez.
William’s mother also commented that William is such a planner now and coordinates his schedule to make time for designing his products. William is more involved and finds his work meaningful. His mother has observed this positive affect that the Biz Kids Club has had on her son and she is grateful.