VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Preparing teens for the real world can seem like a daunting task, but one Holly Hill business owner is giving them the keys to success; from balancing a budget, to creating a resume, he is turning his passion into a mission.
Derrick Collins, the founder and CEO of Mr. and Ms. Mentoring, held a free six-week summer program funded by Career Source. The program was called “Learn and Earn” and taught students job training skills and financial literacy.
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“We completed resumes, and we had career assessments,” Collins said.
Students were also taught the value of saving and investing in their future.
“Each kid had the opportunity to make up to $1,500 for the summer,” Collins said. “Everybody doesn’t go to college. Everyone isn’t an athlete. So we wanted to give them as much exposure as we can, so they can have a successful future.”
Collins, who is a father and Bethune Cookman University graduate, said his goal was to inspire these teens.
Nathaniel Flynt, 16, said the program meant a lot to him.
“They definitely helped me because they really went into depth of finding who you are — personal development and stuff like that,” Flynt said. “Investing into stuff.”
“I made a decision that I’m going to go to the Air Force, so I can have stability in my life once I leave high school,” another student said.
The kids also got to tour college campuses this summer, including Bethune Cookman University and Daytona State College, to learn more about different majors. Many of them said they aspire to someday become college graduates.
“I enjoyed the college tours,” said 13-year-old Essence Harper. “They were showing us what it was like to be on campus and the history behind the college also.”
Many of them have formed their own business. As for Collins, who also is a mental health therapist and co-owner at Stress and Anxiety Center, he couldn’t be happier for these teens.
“I’m proud of you all and I hope you’re proud of yourselves,” Collins said.
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