DALLAS (CBS11) – The difference between a dream and a goal, is a plan. And dozens of young men this week are learning to get specific about navigating success in the business world– and in life– at the debut of an entrepreneurship camp called ELEVATE.
“On the first day, the said ‘this is our pitch: now get ready to do this’,” said Kameron Goffney, a 16-year-old camp participant of the organizers. “It’s just an amazing experience.”
The idea is to encourage students to think beyond being employees– and show them that they can also be employers and entrepreneurs, creating jobs for the community. The leadership and entrepreneurship academy is the latest effort of business owners (and twin brothers) Tim and Terrence Maiden to give back to their Oak Cliff community.
“If they are driven, if they set goals for themselves, if they work hard… the sky is the limit,” says Terrence Maiden, with ELEVATE.
All week the effort has gone beyond telling the campers that they can be successful; local power brokers stopped by to show them how.
“It’s important for us to make sure these young men saw different CEOs, executives and can envision themselves in those roles and those positions,” says Maiden, “whether it’s owning your own company, or leading a company, giving them the tools they need to be successful doing that.”
While some of the sessions focused on the practical — how to respond when you don’t hear back from an interviewer, to where to put your business cards during a meet and greet — for the campers, the experience and exposure has also been profound.
“So imagine this, the 18,000th best NBA player he’s working at UPS,” says and enthusiastic Goffney. “The 18,000th best entrepreneur is owning UPS! Not saying I don’t have to work as hard; but, there isn’t as much competition.”
After finishing high school next year, Goffney hopes to study business at Texas A&M.
Still, the sessions hosted on the campus of UNT Dallas this week weren’t limited to marketing plans and profit margins. Today, the talk turned to policing– and how young men of color should respond when dealing with police. It has become an almost inevitable — and some say still necessary — conversation whenever young men of color gather.
“When there’s an officer with a gun and a badge, that’s a life threatening situation that can go really bad, really quick, just by your actions,” advised one Dallas officer.
Duncanville’s Police Chief Robert Brown, also speaking to the students, encouraged them to keep an open mind following high profile incidents involving police– even as they are flooded with video of situations that appear one sided.
“When there’s a use of force, it’s important that there’s a complete and thorough investigation,” said Chief Brown. “What you see may not be what you see.”
Still, for young men of color– their reality is rooted in a troubling trend.
Adam Lee is a college junior helping out with the camp through an internship on campus. He asked police about their impressions of the Jordan Edwards case. A police officer shot and killed the Balch Springs teen earlier this year. He was an unarmed passenger in a vehicle driving away from a party when the officer opened fire. It’s an example of why some teens say they still struggle with that fine line between trust and fear when encountering police.
“Every time police pulls you over, automatically you’re like ‘dang, I don’t know what’s about to happen’, because I really don’t,” says Lee.
“It’s extremely difficult,” says Goffney. “At the end of the day, people aren’t all your friends, people aren’t all your enemy. They’re just people with badges on.”