Helping Kids DREAM BIG

Seth Curry launches the EverFi program at KIPP Middle School

Check out the EverFi program, an effort launched at KIPP Middle School in Dallas in part by the Seth Curry Foundation to promote the entrepreneurial spirit in local youth!

DALLAS – Jaylee Bradford now knows the value of being an entrepreneur.

Once the Venture Entrepreneurial Expedition program was explained to Bradford, the light bulb seemingly lit-up in the head of the KIPP Destiny Middle School student. The path to financial freedom became much clearer.

Thus, it didn’t take long for Bradford to map out a long-range plan.

“The Venture program is helping me understand how to start a business and it’s explaining to me what I need to do in order to successfully start my business,” Bradford said. “When I grow up I want to become a veterinarian and have my own clinic because I don’t want to have to do what other people tell me to do. I want to be a boss.”

The Dallas Mavericks and the Seth Curry Foundation launched the Venture Entrepreneurial Expedition program – the EverFi program — at KIPP Destiny Middle School in South Oak Cliff. The program is a new educational initiative designed to teach students to think about entrepreneurship when it comes to both business and life.

The program’s digital course uses case studies, personal development activities and interactive business simulations to teach important basic skills. Also, students will develop a personalized plan for their business, in addition to a road map for career and academic success.

KeJuan Weaver, the coach and athletic director at KIPP Destiny Middle School, pinches himself when thinking about the various levels of business the EverFi program has to offer his students.

“We’re really excited to have this program at our school,” Weaver said. “We love having the students able to relate to entrepreneurs in the community and able to practice some of the lessons and see those things come to life within the program.”

“It’s very interactive, they get to play with different models and see different things before they actually happen in real life so that they can have this background and prior knowledge when it comes time for them to do their own thing.”

Curry, a guard with the Mavs, was more than happy to get involved with a project that will help spark a young person’s imagination.

“It’s definitely something I wish I had growing-up myself,” Curry said.

“I took a few business courses and entrepreneurial classes at Duke and I always wanted to give back to the community.”

While speaking at KIPP Destiny Middle School, Curry went to the computers where the students were working, interacted with them and let them explain to him exactly what they were doing.

“You can see how much they’ve invested in it and work hard at it and try to learn as much as possible.”

Nesaa Milligan, one of the students at KIPP Destiny Middle School, has already seen the advantages of the EverFi program.

“The EverFi program is helping me build my standards on how I can be a better leader and how I can be what I want to be when I grow up,” Milligan said. “I want to be a photographer, so I want to own my own business.”

Another KIPP Destiny Middle School student, Antonio Hodges, has analyzed the program on a much more personal level.

“Since I have a disability, this program helps me to make sure that I take care of myself some more,” Hodges said. “I really want to be a singer and I want to inspire everyone that we should really take care of each other and help the world be a better place.”

Curry has been involved with a lot of basketball camps, including one with his brother – Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry — earlier this summer in South Korea. But he wanted to offer kids another slice of life besides basketball.

“I was looking for different things to do in the community,” Curry said. “We were just thinking of ways you can give back and get out there and get invested in the city of Dallas and the kids.”

“I’ve been running the camps now for a couple of years and I felt like we can grow a little bit and do some different things. I had an opportunity to work with the Mavs and with EverFi to do this venture and it just made sense for all of us.”

Rick Nielsen, a member of the Seth Curry Foundation, applauds what Curry is trying to accomplish in South Oak Cliff.

“Right now we want everybody to dream big, especially with what’s going on in the world right now,” Nielsen said. “We really want these kids to focus on their goals and know they can achieve anything.”

Curry wasn’t so sure if he located any future Mark Cubans or Bill Gates among the KIPP Destiny Middle School students.

“I don’t see why not,” Curry said. “They all started somewhere. They’ll learn at a young age that a lot of people don’t learn until they get out of college, or in college. It’s a great way for them to get a jump start on their education.

“Just going by and looking at some of the programs and reading it and having them explain what they were learning, it seemed like they were interested and they’re invested. And like I said, this is a great program and knowledge that you actually need and want growing up. I’m sure it’ll benefit these kids a great amount and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Weaver acknowledged that his students have been very inquisitive when it comes to soaking in all the education pertaining to the EverFi program.

“We’ve been in the program for about a week, and they’ve done really well,” Weaver said. “The only thing I’ve had to do is keep the conversation going once they finish because they’re really excited about it and they have so many questions.

“So my job as an educator is to just be that guide and help them out.”

Curry noted that Cuban has offered a lot of sage advice to him in regards to entrepreneurship. Advice that Curry found to be very productive when he spoke to the KIPP Destiny Middle School students.

“Being around (Cuban) during the season and talking to him about business ventures and entrepreneurial ways and just him telling me about his story, it’s very motivational in itself being around him,” Curry said. “He’s one to talk to you about anything that he went through, so I’m just trying to pass that same knowledge on.”

So what was the overriding message in Curry’s speech to the students?

“Just dream big,’’ he said. “Know what you have a passion for and have a set plan to make it happen, and just never give up.”

“I have a story myself of being an athlete who had many obstacles, so I’ll tell these kids the exact same thing. Off the court and being an entrepreneur, just persevere and do what you want to do.”