The RNGH20 Water Hustle is a program that is designed to teach kids the spirit of entrepreneurialism, and how to manage a business loan. Together with YoungstownForward.org and Vision Board Unlimited, we provide inner-city youth with an initial set of 100 bottles of water at a cost of $0.15 per bottle, payable once they have reached that amount through sales. After payment of the first $15 due — and showing the receipts of sale (in an attempt to keep it honest and fair), they are given another set of 100 bottles and a set of Gatorade bottles — at another cost.
With the money paid back by the participants on the asset loan, we put that into a community-oriented account and allow the kids to decide on productive ways to use the money for further community investment.
The purpose of this project is to enable youth who are statistically in environments where wealth — and the creation of wealth — is not abundant; where financial literacy is not a mainstay due to the many factors that create those circumstances; and who are from communities where little to no economic investment is made. Additionally, the kids that participate in the RNGH20 Water Hustle learn about turning a profit from assets that are lent to them. The low cost of 15-cents is so that they are able to make a sizable profit that they can enjoy and to make it an easy debt to manage.
In order to teach them about the effects of defaulting on a loan, we require that they put forth something that they own for collateral. Now we're not talking about something way out of line like their Playstation or mobile phone, but perhaps a favorite shirt, a toy, or something else that they value — as long as it doesn't cause actual financial or resource damage to their household.
While we want to mainly teach the participating youth about financial responsibility, and how a business loan is made and repaid, we will have a few training sessions that will give them some ideas on how to successfully market their products. Preferably, we want to allow their own minds to work on innovative ways to reach a customer base to get them accustomed to the process of idea creation, but we're not going to leave them off on their own totally. Support systems will be set up for those who seek help or need encouragement in their endeavors.
Being that we are a digital consultancy, it's only fitting that we'll discuss ways that they can use the Web and connectivity to be successful in their venture. We will provide training sessions in website set up (microsites in this case, for time sake), provide mobile devices so that they can accumulate customer phone numbers and utilize SMS-messaging, social media, and actual call-in orders, while not using their actual mobile numbers — or that of their parents' — and show them how to conduct Email marketing.
Lastly, we chose bottles of water as a business product because it's an inexpensive asset, and of course for our RunningH20 namesake...see what we did there?!
The program will begin in June (actual date is yet to be announced) and will be open to children between the ages of 10 and 17 years old. While we are emphasizing and basing this program in inner-city areas, it is open to youth from anywhere. We're launching this program in Youngstown and Warren, Ohio — as well as Sharon/Farrell, Pennsylvania — as part of our Mission In Youngstown, Ohio.
For more information on the RNGH20 Water Hustle — whether it's how your child or children can participate, or how you can contribute to the program in the form of donation of money, bottles of water/Gatorade, or even your time, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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