Join our email list for breaking news and inspiring stories. Subscribe.
What is a Harlem middle school student doing on a Friday afternoon? If you’re a student in the Sheltering Arms Afterschool program, you’re analyzing data about consumer habits and making advertising recommendations to top companies in the board room of leading marketing firm Fluent.
The opportunity was possible for our students thanks to Fluent volunteers – coders, data analysts, and even the company’s founding partners and CEOs. These mentors stepped up to expose children to 21st Century skills and ideas that they can bring to the table when they found their own e-commerce startups one day.
The highlight of the day for many students was the chance to ask tough questions of the company’s founders, one of whom they chose to nickname “Peter Parker”. When asked about their greatest professional mistakes, the career panelists taught students about accounting errors that can rest on a single misplaced decimal point, as well as the importance of learning from mistakes and using them for improvement and innovation.
“The mentorship the volunteers provide is key to our students’ success in the future,” said Elizabeth McCarthy, CEO of Sheltering Arms. “The vast majority of our kids come from low-income communities with under-resourced schools, many in foster care and in the city’s shelter system. They don’t have frequent exposure to diverse and emerging careers. But with partners like Fluent, we can close those gaps and make sure our kids have equal opportunities to achieve success, with plenty of role models cheering them on, no matter where they come from.”
By the end of the day, the number one question from students was, “How do I get a job here??” While they were disappointed to learn that 12 year-olds can’t legally apply, they did not delay with their plans to start their own companies. Consider the marketplace warned! The Sheltering Arms students of Harlem are ready to disrupt the digital advertising world as we know it.