For one fun day in July, Family Service & Guidance Center became known for fine dining. The savory smell of delicious breakfast burritos and tostadas floated down the organization’s halls, thanks to one Youth Development Program group.
July 12 was Entrepreneurship Day for a YDP group facilitated Dawn Villalobos and John Sweet – a.k.a., Miss Dawn and Mr. Sweet. Their five group members, ranging in age from 11-13, completed a fundraising project that had started earlier in the summer.
“The group chose a charitable organization and then decided what they wanted to do to raise money for them,” Dawn said. “They planned the whole thing, with guidance from Mr. Sweet and I, from start to finish.
Along with helping a local charity, there are other important goals to this annual project.
Dawn said, “This project is important because it teaches kids that they can be in control of their success. The kids learn how to plan, follow directions and overcome obstacles. They learn leadership skills and the value of giving back to the community. They learn that they can make positive impact on their community.”
First, they selected the charity. Jasmine, a smart young lady who is “12, but I’ll be 13 next month” said that choosing wasn’t very hard.
“We talked about what charities needed the most help. We decided that we wanted to help Helping Hands (Humane Society, a local animal shelter) because they help animals,” Jasmine explained. Then, she added, “I love animals, and animals need a lot of help.”
Dawn said, “The group decided they wanted to make and sell Mexican food and a few desserts, like cookies. Mr. Sweet and I took the kids shopping for the ingredients. They helped chop and measure. They cooked and baked. They helped with every stage of the preparation.”
“Making the food wasn’t very hard,” Jasmine said, smiling. “Some of the stuff, we weren’t sure where to get it, but Miss Dawn and Mr. Sweet showed us where to find it. It was a lot of fun!”
On the day of the sale, each of the kids was ready to explain why they were selling food and where the money was going. They all served, took money and made change for customers – and there were a lot of customers! At the end of the day, only four burritos were left. All the ingredients for tostadas were gone and just a few desserts remained.
“I’m so proud of these kids,” Dawn said. “They showed hard work and dedication to a project that was somewhat foreign to them, and they raised about $500. Now we get to go buy the items for Helping Hands and deliver them. This project will create lasting positive memories for them.”