NONPROFIT: Rebel Ventures
“The students are all paid to create the treats, taste-test and gather feedback from thousands of students.”
Local high-school senior Tre’Cia Gibson isn’t sure where she’ll go to college—she’s been accepted to six so far. As a participant and leader in the Rebel Ventures program, she knows she’s already learned a lot that’s not part of regular high-school classwork. When asked what her involvement in this nonprofit has taught her, she rattles off “public speaking, going to meetings, leadership and teamwork.”
Rebel Ventures gives students like Gibson the opportunity to work on a real-world business project. Led by co-founder and executive director Jarrett Stein, the group makes a healthy breakfast treat that is now being served in schools all over Philadelphia. Rebel Ventures is supported by the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, but it operates as an independent nonprofit.
“The students are all paid to create the treats, taste-test and gather feedback from thousands of students,” says Stein. These days the kids who participate in Rebel Ventures are working on creating a juice that will go into corner stores all over Philadelphia as a healthy alternative to soda. “We’re also working on a lunch product,” says Stein.
Gibson is no outlier. “One of our first students is about to graduate from college and plans to go into business himself,” says Stein. It’s likely he was inspired by his work with Rebel Ventures. What inspires the kids even more than learning about the business world is the prospect of helping other people feel their best. “Every student I’ve ever worked with wants to be healthy,” says Stein.