(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Artaz Cotton wants to reopen a recreation center in Rosemont. He also has a plan for creating a peer-to-peer mentoring program where older youth can talk to younger youth about lessons learned along the years.
To move toward completing this, he’s talked to representatives from Under Armour and the Parks and People Foundation.
Not bad for a summer break from high school.
Cotton was one of eight students from Green Street Academy who spent eight weeks at City Garage in Port Covington coming up with new ventures. The program is called Bet on Baltimore, and was held for the first time this summer. Through a donation to Baltimore’s YouthWorks program from the Plank Family Foundation, students even got paid.
The students saw some of the resources Baltimore’s entrepreneurship community has available. They spent time plotting their companies at Betamore and in classroom space operated by Sagamore Development at 240 W. Dickman St. They also had access to prototyping tools at The Foundery makerspace.
That also provided a look at what it’s like to create a new company. In their effort to create a next-generation doghouse, Jabriel Spencer and Antonio Walker got experience getting feedback on their product. They got advice to paint it a neutral color that dogs can see, and not to include steps. After one piece of feedback, they also learned how to sand.
Along the way, they were guided by Rajan Patel and Jackie Bello of Dent Education. The cofounders designed curriculum around design thinking and making that helps students not only develop their ventures, but also empower students to get creative and be leaders.
At the end, the students gathered at Under Armour’s Building 37 to pitch a panel including Barclay founder Chris Wilson, Betamore CEO Jen Meyer and Green Street Academy’s Tia-Shon Kelley.
“My vision is a healthy community full of love, trust and fun,” Cotton told the group