Where’s Bill? Being Inspired By Truant Youth in Oakland

Where’s Bill? Follow PVF’s Executive Director, Bill Somerville, out of the office, for site visits and meetings with outstanding grassroots leaders.

I was asked to meet with a group of high school age students who are all in a special program because of their truancy in school. We met at the “Truancy Center” for the Oakland schools. My job was to talk to them about entrepreneurs and what I do.

The project the youth were focused on was to create a program of how to keep other kids from being truant and they had some interesting ideas. One of their pitches involved debit cards, with a small amount of money the student can use if he/she stays in school. The students saw themselves as entrepreneurs in developing this idea and they asked me for money to make it work. Their “ask” was carefully planned by the students with one of them making a formal pitch to me. They took it seriously.

I doubt if these young people will remain truant and I asked each one of them what their plans were for the future – and each had ideas of what they wanted to do in the future.

CEO Youth (Creating Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Youth), run by the Lincoln Child Center in Oakland, creates early intervention for these youth, by honoring their uniqueness, and building their strengths.  It was fun working with them. We had good rapport. I came away enthused.


About venturesfoundation

Founder and CEO of Philanthropic Ventures Foundation
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