Maybe it goes without saying, but when it comes to enjoying a satisfying mug of chocolate or taza de chocolate, we take our tazas seriously. That is why we're thrilled to partner with The Possible Project on our newest set of Taza mugs, and support this fantastic local organization. Come meet some of these talented young entrepreneurs and check our their wares at our Cinco de Mayo Block party, 4/30 1-5pm.
Students featured: Yannick Monteiro, Ana Raposo and Catalina Nguyen
The Possible Project (TPP) is a youth entrepreneurship program designed to close the opportunity gap and provide 21st century career skills to high school students. It was founded in 2010 by lifelong entrepreneurs, Mark and Becky Levin, to fulfill a dream of creating a place where disadvantaged youth could become entrepreneurs and, in the process, acquire a host of personal and professional skills that would propel them to long term success in life, education, and their careers. TPP is working to close the skills and opportunities gap facing underserved high school students by providing resources and support that make them more likely to graduate from high school, complete education and training beyond high school, and enter careers that will provide them with a living wage.
Their long term goal for each student is that 10 years after completing high school, they are self- sufficient and have a career, not just a job. To make that future possible, the program is designed to build three kinds of capital that enables students to bridge the Opportunity Gap they face: Human capital in the form of an entrepreneurial mindset, confidence and resilience, tangible work experience, and technical skills like product design and prototyping; Social capital in the form of personal and professional networks with caring, entrepreneurial adult mentors; and Financial capital in the form of stipends for program participation, profits from their own businesses, scholarships for post secondary programs and commissions for their sales with either of The Possible Project’s two wholly owned enterprises.
One of these enterprise businesses is called Made Possible, a professionally managed, in- house business where students participate in creating retail products and custom design and fabrication projects for external clients. As they employ the latest design software and manufacturing tools alongside design professionals at TPP’s Kendall Square maker space students refine business and design skills they’ve developed at TPP in service of their independent businesses.
One of the most recent projects was an order from TAZA: a couple hundred custom designed mugs. Three students took the lead on this project: Yannick, Ana and Catalina, all hailing from Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school. In fact, all three are alumni of The Possible Project and working part-time to help support the cost of college. Yannick is at the School of Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), Catalina attends Emerson College and Ana is a junior at UMass Boston. All three hope to utilize their design and makery skills in a career one day. The order from TAZA involved knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and learning how to operate the sublimation ink printer and mug press, which they had never used before. When these students were asked what they took from this experience, they all expressed how “cool” it was to work on a product that was going into stores. This project gave them an opportunity to take ownership of the process to learn best practices when it comes to streamlining production. They also mentioned how much they love TAZA’s chocolate and how proud they were to add this project to their portfolio.
This project provided real world design & production experience that will only make enduring personal and professional success more likely for students like, Yannick, Ana, and Catalina. This is an example of how an exciting opportunity allowed The Possible Project to structure their educational classes as projects for clients like TAZA, complete with initial consultations, project timelines and end deliverables. This experiential system, coupled with their already robust educational curriculum related to software and maker equipment, was extremely impactful for these students.