These Young Business Owners are Closing the Mentorship Gap in Red Hook, Brooklyn

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1 in 3 young people will grow up without a mentor in the United States, but that gap is closing in Red Hook, Brooklyn, because of a group of young entrepreneurs with a social mission.

This summer 17 young people took Progress Playbooks youth entrepreneurship program, Start an Empire, in partnership with Red Hook Community Justice Center.

Participants shared their personal stories with violence, incarceration, drugs, and deferred dreams, and also expressed that if they had access to more mentors in Red Hook their stories would have taken a more positive direction. 

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After studying the problem more closely, they decided to do something about it, and launched, INTRO, a youth based business dedicated to brining positive vibes to Red Hook by highlighting and recruiting local mentors for young people in their neighborhood. 

In just 6 weeks, the founders of INTRO, received business training, created a business plan, designed a product, and executed a local popup shop, showcasing the mission of their brand to their community. 

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At their first popup shop on August 16, 2019, INTRO: 

1) Highlighted 4 local role models who are currently making a difference in young people's lives in Red Hook. 

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2) Recruited over 35 new mentors and connected them to 4 youth organizations in Red Hook, including, Red Hook Community Justice Center, Red Hook InitiativeThe Miccio Center and The Alex House Project.

3) Captured the stories of 10 residents who had role models growing up in Red Hook and how they positively impacted their lives. 

4) Made over $1,600 from selling their first branded t-shirt, and donated a portion of their sales to youth mentorship programs in Red Hook.   

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Unlocking the full potential in every young person in Red Hook is dependent on connecting them to mentors, as studies show that young people with mentors are 55% more likely to enroll in college, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, 90% are interested in becoming a mentor and 130% are more likely to hold leadership positions.

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Kudos to all 17 founders of INTRO on bringing positive vibes to Red Hook and beyond!

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