Middle School can be a challenging time for many students, and for Richie Amarante, DFOY’s Assistant Program Director at M.S. 181 Pablo Casals, he knows creating authentic experiences is the best way to connect with participants. Students need to translate what they are learning in the classroom to the real world waiting for them. Therefore, Richie works with his colleagues at neighboring MS. 180 to tie lessons, activities, and special events to the local community. Richie and the rest of the DFOY Middle School Team created DFOY Store to allow participants to apply their math skills and leadership development to running their own micro-business.
Through DFOY Store, program participants sell drinks, snacks, and other goods to staff, fellow participants, and even parents. MS 181 participants take on different roles such as managing the register, working with program staff to manage/order inventory, or reconciling weekly transactions. With startups like Uber, WeWork, and other founders dominating the news, young people, including DFOY participants, are increasingly interested in business and entrepreneurship. Richie saw an opportunity to invite a local entrepreneur and business owner to speak with participants and share his experience.
Fortunately for DFOY, Amaurys Grullon, co-founder of clothing and lifestyle brand Bronx Native, which had recently been featured in The New York Times and Forbes, is passionate about his Bronx roots. In late November, Amaurys came to MS 181 and spoke with students about launching a business in the Bronx, some of the challenges he faced, and his recent success. News 12 Bronx was there to cover Amaurys’ conversation with participants from M.S. 181 and M.S. 180.
Since News 12’s, visit DFOY’s partnership with Amaurys and Bronx Native has continued. Recently, the Bronx Native team was invited to an event at The Bronx Museum of the Arts and asked DFOY participants to join him and sell DFOY Store goods. Participants and staff are grateful to have a continued relationship with Amaurys and Bronx Native because, as Amaurys shared, his experience mirrors many DFOY participants. He hopes his story can inspire others to start businesses and share the talent that exists in the Bronx.
To learn more about Bronx Native, visit their website www.bronxnative.com.