Photo Credit: WBIR
In Knoxville, Tennessee there is a camp where young people are learning how to be entrepreneurs and developing a valuable skill — sewing. Enkeshi El-Amin is a sociologist who accidentally started the camp, Sew It Sell It. El-Amin merely mentioned the possibility of opening a summer camp one day for kids during an interview and from that, the idea took off. Now she is working with young people who are not only learning to sew but to date, have actually launched their own companies, though they’ve yet to graduate from elementary school!
As reported by WBIR, the camp became a real possibility when a local business owner, Marcus Hall, donated studio space for the camp. From there, other locals began to drop off sewing machines, food and furniture. The generosity of the community made it possible for kids in the area to attend the camp for free. The kids actually learned to sew in two days and from there, they began to learn the art of running a business. The kids from Sew It Sell It are miles beyond their peers and that is precisely why El-Amin would like to expand the camp to an after-school program, in order to reach more children.
This camp and others like it are invaluable. As El-Amin told WBIR, “It’s important for our kids, especially kids of color, to learn financial literacy and learn what it means to be an entrepreneur and how to manage your money and make your money work for you. It’s important to teach them these skills and to teach them that you have something to offer the world, even at eight or nine years old.” Our children are our responsibility and whether they are self reliant or dependent, is ultimately an outcome of what we teach and invest in them.