SERA, Inc. is a flagship nonprofit organization whose mission is to facilitate community capacity building in its most authentic sense. The organization’s goals are accomplished via focus on specific areas that would enhance one’s quality of life. For the youth who participate in the organization’s Youth Business programming the focus is to assist them in setting goals that would help them realize their dreams of entrepreneurialism, as well as building and sustaining a web-based business.
Rita Anita Linger, CEO of SERA, Inc. states, “We are very proud of our Youth Entreprenaurial Technology Institute (better known as YETI) which began in 2010 with the goal of responding to young people who were excited by technology and the idea of owning their own business while helping themselves and others within their community through their business. Most of the young people involved in the program describe themselves as creative and explain that they have limited access to technology equipment (hardware and software), instruction or mentoring. I felt we needed to do something to address these particular youth concerns, as there is significant hidden talent in many of our Southeast Raleigh and greater Raleigh area youth. We recognized early on that if some of their needs around technology access and personal development were not addressed, their potential to develop themselves and their dreams would atrophy and die.”
Together with SERA, Inc.’s YETI Professor, Karl Brustymeyer, SERA’s Youth Business Innovations Officer, Quintin Murphy and SERA’s CEO , Rita Anita Linger who founded the program, YETI is facilitated in a state of the art environment and has graduated over 75 young people in the short time span since the Institute has been in existence. The Institute’s student-body consists of youth with a propensity toward technology between the ages of 13-19. These students are required to put in a total of 40 hours of rigorous learning and competency demonstration including homework assignments. “The recruitment and selection process for the Institute is no cake walk” states Ms. Linger, “In addition to answering pointed questions about what each young person envisions him or herself doing in the future, SERA, Inc. staff need to hear potential candidates of the program authentically articulate why they want to attend the Institute and how, at the conclusion of the class they will use their skills they acquire and the equipment and support they are provided.”
Each young person who is eligible for the program and is selected to attend is provided a full Institute scholarship by SERA, Inc. Youth are taught Web Development/Design, HTLM and other markup Languages, Entrepreneurial Business Development Skills, Customer Service Skills, Conflict Resolution & Communication Skills and Leadership Identification and Implementation. The youth who attend the Institute are required to demonstrate competency in all areas of training before they are able to graduate. “There is a significant amount of interaction between the students and instructors as well as experiential work that takes place”, says Ms. Linger.
This state of the art Institute works to create leaders and those young people interested in starting their own business, generating revenue and serving within their own environments by giving of their newly gained skills to those in need within their own communities. Several of the graduates of our June 2010 class have already launched their business websites and are helping family and community members who need assistance navigating the web, and designing web pages. “By the time our students leave the Institute, they have a customized template by which to facilitate their own website, and possess the skills both hard and soft to begin to make their dreams a reality”, says CEO Linger. “Each student who successfully completes the program is given a laptop, customized web-based templates which they have developed with the support of staff, and one year of technical support as the graduates move forward to develop their expertise and their business plans.
The graduates of the Fall 2013 Institute will be honored at a formal graduation and will pledge to become an active part of SERA, Inc.’s Youth Ambassador Program (a program of community service, leadership development, and social justice advocacy under which the YETI program sits) via a pinning ceremony on November 26, 2012 during the graduation at the Wetlands Center,950 Peterson St. Raleigh, NC 5:30pm – 7:00pm. There will be a light refreshments, as well as a Graduation and Pinning Ceremony to follow. Come join us to honor our new Teenpreneurs!