Samantha Raymond, an 8th grader at The Baldwin School, has been participating in the 30-week Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) program, which is a groundbreaking and exciting year-long, after-school class that transforms middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs.
YEA! provides a focused introduction to the business world, combining a dynamic, proven curriculum with the experiences of local leaders of industry, community members, educators, and entrepreneurs. Throughout the year-long course, held at Bryn Mawr College and developed by the University of Rochester, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors, and actually launch and run their own real, legal, fully formed companies and social movements. Complete with dynamic guest speakers from the local business community and exciting behind-the-scenes trips to local companies, the fun, projects-based YEA! approach empowers students to take charge of their futures in a profound way.
Samantha’s business plan was born from her love of entrepreneurship and passion for community service. During her YEA! experience, she has created a non-profit business called Connecting You to Somewhere New, which matches volunteers with volunteer opportunities.
Samantha has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Starting when she was five years old, she started selling baked goods door to door to help protect the rainforest. She has done everything from creating charity gift baskets and soliciting local businesses for gift cards for Katie at the Bat and Fred's Footsteps auction events, to collecting prescription glasses for the Lyon's Club, recruiting friends to buy, wrap and donate toys for Mothers in Charge and hosting a book drive that resulted in Einstein Hospital setting up a library for patients.
A fellow YEA! classmate -- Tori Campbell, a sophomore at Haverford High School -- liked Samantha’s business plan so much that she asked if she could be partners, and their alliance was born. The girls met with mentors, brainstormed with local entrepreneurs and came up with a business plan. They then pitched their plan to the YEA! Investor Panel Event on March 19 and were awarded $674 to launch Connecting You to Somewhere New. One thing that makes this award so special is that the Investor Panel believed in it so much, they awarded them more money (almost double) than they asked for.
Connecting You to Somewhere New is a website. If you are a teenager or a young adult looking for volunteer opportunities, you can go online and click on your interest. There is a different page filled with different opportunities for a variety of interests. The organization will provide users with the contact information so they can volunteer. Connecting You to Somewhere New also features inspiring volunteer stories. The organization’s blog includes information about different upcoming service events so users are always in the know. Their mission is to help the people who want to volunteer connect with the volunteer groups that need help. The website will be up and running by the end of the YEA! program in June 2014.