Target demographics: BUILD targets disengaged, low-income high school students who teachers and counselors believe are on the cusp of dropping out. We actively seek students with multiple socio-economic risk factors. Many have GPAs below 2.0, rendering them ineligible for other college preparation programs. We operate in high school districts that serve communities with high drop-out rates in the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington DC, and Boston, MA.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 900 high school students are currently enrolled in BUILD.
Someone who had 3 hours of volunteer time could: Be a business advisor and distribute seed capital to youth entrepreneurs, or judge a youth business plan competition!
Programs: BUILD's four progressive tracks of learning are described below:
Entrepreneurs 1 (E1) - Freshman Year: Planning a Business
Ninth grade students meet with BUILD 7-10 hours per week for the entire academic year. In a rigorous, five- credit elective at eight partner public high schools and in evening mentoring sessions, students learn not only the fundamentals of business, but also the tenets of time management, goal-setting and organization, and professional communication etiquette. In teams of 3-5 members, students develop comprehensive (20-30 page) business plans. The year culminates with the BUILD Youth Business Plan Competition held at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. On the Peninsula, BUILD currently operates classes out of every school in the Sequoia Union High School District (Menlo-Atherton, Woodside, Sequoia, and Carlmont); in Oakland, BUILD is taught at Lionel Wilson College Preparatory, Oakland Technical High School, Youth Empowerment School (YES), and Oakland High School.
Entrepreneurs 2 (E2) - Sophomore Year: Running a Business
Sophomores meet in BUILD's Youth Business and Academic Incubator for 3-6 hours per week, after school, for the entire academic year. They begin to operate their small businesses while learning negotiations, business ethics, venture capital, and more. Teams are assigned a Venture Capital Advisor, who acts on BUILD?s behalf to finance the students? businesses. Individual students work with BUILD?s Academic Program Manager and academic mentors to maintain academic standards for college admissions. To remain in E2, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA.
Entrepreneurs 3 (E3) - Junior Year: Preparing for College
Juniors learn advanced topics relating to college selection and preparation including essay writing, interviewing skills, financial aid, and standardized test preparation. Last year, BUILD students improved their SAT scores by an average of 142 points. Students continue to operate their businesses, but focus more on getting into the college of their choice. To assist in the college selection process, BUILD staff members accompany students on college tours in various parts of the country. To remain in E3, students must maintain a 2.7 GPA.
Entrepreneurs 4 (E4) - Senior Year: Selecting a College
Seniors shift their focus from running their businesses to selecting and applying to college. With the help of BUILD mentors and BUILD's College Counselor, they identify stretch and safety schools, write admissions essays, prepare college applications, and package their BUILD experience into a portfolio. They continue to hone their interview and presentation skills, in anticipation of communication with college admission officers. When possible, BUILD helps to arrange interviews with local alumni. Parents/guardians receive advice and information about scholarships and financial aid resources through workshops and meetings.
As the organization grows, BUILD's "high touch" model becomes more challenging to implement, but despite this fact, the organization maintains a 2:1 student to mentor ratio throughout all four years of the program. The BUILD office now has four program sites operating , 34 salaried staff members, and an annual budget of $4.6 million. In 2010-2011, BUILD will serve 700 students, from eleven partner public high schools. The need for programmatic support is now greater than ever.
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