Out of the chaos of COVID, leaders have emerged to rally around in support of small businesses in the Cleveland community of Old Brooklyn. You might think that these leaders were the usual suspects, and definitely, the forward-thinking teams at NEOSTEM, Old Brooklyn CDC, and other local organizations began the venture, but it’s high school kids that are pulling it off.
Seven local teens, all in the process of trying to finish their school year out with AP testing and finals looming, began work with six brick and mortar businesses afloat in the storm of social distancing. These young ladies have been laboring hard to provide businesses with technology and social media services to ensure that their shops survive in hard times.
Samone Cummings, a sophomore, has been working with Akita Styles for the past several weeks. She’s already established new YouTube and Twitter accounts for the business. Additionally, she’s trained the owner, Sonseeahray Stewart, on the use of these accounts. She’s helped promote the new channels through existing Facebook and Instagram channels, claimed her Google my Business, and posted a job listing for the business. Samone and Sonseeahray are equally enthused about the upcoming YouTube video tutorial that will be premiering next Wednesday. Additional videos will be created in order to promote the Atika Styles brand of being “comfortable in your own skin and own hair.”
Student Tyler Williamson is finding similar success with Vance’s Barber & Grooming Lounge. Tyler has revamped Vance’s Facebook and Instagram accounts to promote his brand to specific audiences. In addition to promoting his business through those social media outlets, she has created a flyer in order to help the business owner gain staff as his business begins to increase. Not only has Tyler helped market Vance’s Barber Lounge, but she’s also helping him learn about online accounting software through tutorials and referrals to business support organizations in Old Brooklyn.
Other students have made similar strides with their paired business owners, many working on adding e-commerce sites, creating social media posts, writing stories, and helping publish videos. Midway through the WIR’ED project, these teens are not only learning but helping support the community in a time of economic uncertainty.