Lawrenceville, NJ – November 25, 2014 – Local nonprofit Minding Our Business (MOB), which has been recognized as one of the premier youth entrepreneurship programs in the nation, honored several community leaders and top supporters at its 18th annual fundraising gala on Friday, November 14th. More than 100 program alumni, volunteers and donors attended the event at Lawrenceville’s Green Acres Country Club, raising $20,000 to support entrepreneurial education programs for at-risk youth. Co-Chairs included Francis Blanco, Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Trenton, and Mikelcie Smarr, MOB Advisory Board member.
“Since 1997, Minding Our Business has coached more than 2,500 students into starting and running their own businesses,” states Co-Founder and Executive Director Kevin Wortham. “Our Gala was an important fundraising event featuring great food and music; emotional videos about our program and students; a 50/50; and great fun. But most of all, it was our chance to honor and recognize some of the organizations and people who help MOB’s programs to inspire the hearts and minds of hundreds of at-risk youth each year.”
Having begun at Rider University, MOB currently operates three distinct educational and mentoring programs focused on entrepreneurship and experiential learning: 1) a 12-week after-school service learning program for Trenton middle school students; 2) an intensive summer programat Rider University for low-income middle school students; and a 10-month advanced program providing business coaching to alumni seeking additional guidance. Each MOB program emphasizes business and entrepreneurship training, as well as math, reading, communication and life skills.
Receiving special recognition and MOB’s November 14th dinner were:
- Parent of the Year: Gennara Crews, a single mother of three. Having dropped out of school in ninth grade, Crews recently earned her GED and is now a attending Mercer County Community College and studying to become a registered nurse.
- The Champion of Change Award: Tracey Syphax, a successful Trenton entrepreneur and MOB Board Chairman.
- Tracey D. Syphax Spirit Award: Carl Chiatti, a successful entrepreneur and the CEO of CWC Masonry.
- Elijah Foreman Award: Bentrice Jusu, an internationally recognized artist and the Founder of Both Hands, an arts-based organization in Trenton that serves teens.
- Innovator of the Year: Bruce Boyd, Founder of Boys of Distinction/Girls of Grace Mentoring Program and a leader of Building Our Youth’s Development (BOYD).
- Prime Corporate Supporter: Sam’s Club, a longtime MOB supporter.
- Outstanding Citizen of the Year: Marty Johnson, the President and Founder of Isles, Inc., a Trenton-based community development and environmental organization.
- Koinonia Award: Rev. Simeon Spencer, an internationally recognized preacher and the Pastor of Union Baptist Church in Trenton.
For further information about Minding Our Business, and/or to donate to support its efforts, please visit www.minding-our-business.com or call Executive Director Kevin Wortham at 609-731-9311.