West End youth show off their ‘business prowess’

THE BUSINESS BEE competition was held Nov. 16 at Sheraden Healthy Active Living Center. (Photo by Gail Manker)

Some of the trivia questions were so difficult, many of the adults in the room were stumped.
But who knew all the answers? Yep, the kids, full of intelligence and determination.
It was the Business Bee competition, held Nov. 16 at Sheraden Healthy Active Living Center, presented by H.O.P.E. for Tomorrow Inc. Teams of youth, in front of a live audience, played an interactive game in which they answered questions such as: A charge for a loan, or when the bank pays on money left in a bank account…the answer? Interest; Or, a social science that studies how people, individually and in groups, decide to use scarce resources to satisfy their wants…the answer? Economics.
Youth in grades 5-10 participated, with most of the youth from Sheraden and other parts of the West End. Keysha Gomez, the founder of H.O.P.E. for Tomorrow, said the Business Bee is the culmination of the organization’s Minding My Business entrepreneurial skills development project.
A YOUTH MEMBER of H.O.P.E. for Tomorrow answers a question during the Business Bee competition, Nov. 16 at Sheraden Healthy Active Living Center. (Photos by Gail Manker)

But H.O.P.E. for Tomorrow doesn’t stop there. The organization provides a number of services all aimed at supporting and uplifting today’s youth. “We have served over 200 students in the West End, and we currently have 35 students enrolled in the K.E.Y.S. to the Promise Program,” Gomez told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview. K.E.Y.S. to the Promise is an out-of-school, eight-year prevention curriculum beginning in the fifth grade, serving children in the West End. “Its goal is to increase the youth’s ability to graduate from high school eligible for Pittsburgh Promise scholarships by providing them with academic enrichment and life skills classes, and by emphasizing the critical importance of parental engagement,” Gomez said.
K.E.Y.S. to the Promise began in 2015, but Gomez founded the overall organization in 2010. Initially, Gomez met with a small group of young people in her home for classes in character development and entrepreneurial skills. Later, as the number of youth grew, Gomez moved meetings to the Sheraden Library. In 2014, after-school classes taught by Gomez moved into a space provided inside Pittsburgh Langley K-8 for three days each week throughout the school year.
MORE YOUTH—Amajah, Kaijha, and Kinverlyn

“This is my voice to combat the rising violence and drug invasion attacking our community,” the determined Gomez said. “Any child enrolled in our program will receive quality services, love and care. Our programming is unique in that we implement the ‘It takes a village’ mindset by enrolling the youth at a young age and teaching them the same standards and principles expected to be exhibited by everyone in the program and in the long run, the community. Our parent engagement component does the same with the parents through the monthly parent workshops.”
THE YOUTH—Frazier, ShiQuon, D.J., Jair and Dennis

From fourth-grader Jordan Ralph, to sixth-grader Tatyana McClellan, to ninth-grader Jasmine Snead, the youth participants got a chance to exhibit the fruits of their learning. “The Bee provides a fun environment that applauds the students on their hard work and dedication to learning business terms,” Gomez said. “This information is going to be needed in their future, whether they choose to be entrepreneurs. study business or not.”
(For more information on H.O.P.E. for Tomorrow, or to enroll a child in the organization, call 724-313-4673 or www.hopefortomorrowinc.org.)
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