This is a Community Capital Fund (CCF) -approved and -supported project that was awarded a CCF Neighborhood Opportunity Grant because of the impact it will have in building neighborhood capacity and revitalizing our community. CCF has awarded the Musketeers Civic Group a total of $7,000 for the Entrepreneurial & Character Youth Development Program where 75% of the award ($5,250) is provided as seed funding for the crowdfunding campaign. It’s up to supporters like you to contribute 10% ($700) so they can receive the 10% match ($700) from Cerner and the 5% bonus (or $350) from CCF. Thank you for supporting this impactful project!
What is the Entrepreneurial & Character Youth Development Program?
The Musketeers Civic Group began work on creating a youth entrepreneurial program several years ago. The program had its initial startup in 2014 when a few youth below the age of 16 were organized to establish a lawn care business using conventional push-lawn-mowers. The project has three major objectives:
1. improve neighborhood appearance by providing low-income seniors and/or physically disable homeowners free or reduced cost lawn care
2. promote the benefits of physical activity in maintaining good health
3. instruct youth participants in the basic fundamentals needed to establish and operate a business
For many low-income senior citizens and disabled homeowner in the area we serve, paying for the cost of lawn care services can be a financial burden, therefore, their yards are often neglected. This only adds to what is already a tremendous community problem of vacant homes and lots with overgrown grass and weeds. Having an opportunity to have their lawns cared for free or low cost is a great benefit to them.
Why is this program important?
This program addresses six key areas necessary for building community and our youth:
* Youth Workforce Training & Mentorship - The youth in the program develop skills and experience in lawn care service. 8-10 youth will participate in the program during the grass cutting season. Mentoring is ongoing through frequent one-on-one contact between the youth and members of the Musketeers, who have diverse backgrounds in professional careers and life experiences, with several being small business owners.
* Job Experience for Youth - The program provides income to a group of youth who, because of their young age, have problems finding jobs, as well as other meaningful activity during the summer months when they are out of school. Having a productive job provides alternatives to them getting involved in the wrong activities.
* Physical and Environmental Health - Traditional push lawn mowers are used for safety reasons, to minimize air and noise pollution, and to provide physical activity for many kids who spend so much time on computers.
* Neighborhood Beautification - Youth maintain the yards of seniors and those with disabilities that are otherwise not able to maintain their yard or are unable to pay others to maintain their lawn. This improves the conditions of the neighborhood and allows the homeowners to take pride in their property and avoid code violations.
* Confidence - The rewarding experiences gained from the program improves the participants self-images and help raise their confidence in meeting other day-to-day challenges such as being successful in school.
* Civic Engagement - Youth that participate in the lawn care program are active members in our organization and are engaged in year-round activities.
How can I help?
By contributing to the Entrepreneurial & Character Youth Development Program you are supporting our youth, neighborhoods, and senior or disable residents. 100% of your donation will go towards equipment and youth salaries.
What is the Musketeers Civic Group?
The Musketeers were founded in 2001 "to serve our community in a civic nature through initiating and/or assisting various projects for the betterment of the city with special emphasis on the youth and elderly population." The area we serve is faced with many challenges. We are committed to addressing issues where we can make the biggest impact based upon our resources and interests. Our goal is to make a difference by being a part of the solution rather than sitting on the sidelines.
How is this program sustainable?
The Musketeers are very committed to the program and will continue to allocate funds from its budget to support it. As the program grows it is expected to become more self sufficient, relying on sales receipts to account for the major part of its budget. Our prices can be very competitive because we have no fuel and very little maintenance cost. We will continue our fundraising efforts and continue to seek the support of charitable organizations.
The goal is to acquire and maintain contracts with 15-20 homeowners/businesses to provide lawn care services during this year's grass cutting season. Over 50% of the customers will pay all or a portion of the cost for the service with gross receipts. Leaf and snow removal will be a new adventure starting in the fall. Our goal is to have over 50% of our grass-cutting customer sign contacts for this service as well.
Thank you to our program supporters!
The program recieved a $7,000 grant from the Community Capital Fund and a grant for $2,500 from the Black Community Fund. The Home Depot has also provided program support.