During a neighborhood meeting last year, Victoria heard someone mention that a local non-profit called Start-Up Kids' Club sought volunteers to teach entrepreneurship to children in the Austin area. Thinking about how her husband Shawn’s entrepreneurship had benefited their family, and pondering how beneficial learning entrepreneurial skills at a young age might be, Victoria arranged to meet with Start-Up Kids' Club’s founder Amber Waken. Well, that was it. After meeting with Amber, Victoria and Shawn were hooked and decided they wanted to help in any way they could.
Photos care of Victoria WaiteVictoria says, “This idea to bring the passion and empowerment of entrepreneurship to children is important to me because when our twin girls were born, we we were living in New York City away from all of our family and needed to create our own business so that we could move where we wanted to.” Shawn’s demanding job and long commute were making it difficult for him to spend any time with his daughters and wife, so he and Victoria decided to stop waiting for an opportunity to present itself; instead, they took a leap of faith: Shawn left his job and they moved back down south without securing employment first. During their cross-country drive they brainstormed businesses Shawn could operate on his own, and just like that their family’s journey into entrepreneurship began. Shawn opened his own financial consulting firm and he and Victoria have never looked back, working together to create the lifestyle they want for their family.
Photos care of Victoria Waite
“We want to be a part of teaching youth that you can do what you want and love and are passionate about,” Victoria declares. They don’t just want to do it, they are doing it! Victoria, Shawn, and their fellow community-oriented business owners teach the curriculum that founder Amber created, while other entrepreneurs volunteer to speak to students during every Start-Up Kids’ Club meeting. As if having this unprecedented free access to community leaders and gaining valuable skills that will serve them (and hopefully their communities) for the rest of their lives isn’t enough to warrant enrolling in the program, the families of seven out of eight participating kids report an increase in family connectivity as a result of their participation, too. That makes us want to jump right into the middle of a big ol’ group hug!
Don’t live in Texas but want your child to join the Start-Up Kids' Club community? No problem. The nonprofit is making its program available online soon. Are you an entrepreneur in the Austin area wanting to have a positive impact on youth? Fantastic - consider volunteering as a mentor. Do you run a business or work for a civic-minded company and want to help keep the program free for all kids? Excellent - consider becoming (or encouraging your employer to become) one of Start-Up Kids’ Club’s sponsors. Buying PLAE shoes today and want to make your money work harder than usual? Use checkout code GIVE163 and 10% of your purchase price will go to Start-Up Kids’ Club. You can also find Start-Up Kids’ Club on Facebook and Instagram.