A program that helps kids learn about real estate, entrepreneurship, property ownership and financial literacy has expanded its reach in the Bronx.
In 2021, Nuveen, a leading global investment manager, and Project Destined, a national social impact platform for students and military veterans, partnered to give high school students access to the experience and expertise of Nuveen’s real estate investment professionals as they examine pathways to careers in the field. The partnership began with a six-week virtual internship in September for 10 students at Comp Sci High in the Soundview section of the Bronx.
Since spring of 2020, more than 150 students have participated in Project Destined programs at Comp Sci High, 1300 Boynton Ave. The program features training in real estate, digital marketing and provides an opportunity to collaborate with real estate professionals to prepare presentations as part of weekly team-based competitions. The program also includes a “Shark Tank” style finale where intern teams present a digital marketing plan for a live multifamily real estate deal to industry leaders.
Scholars emerge with the skills, confidence, experiences and networks that prepare them to secure a strong first job and become stakeholders in their community.
“We really think it’s important to have this curriculum year-round,” Cedric Bobo, co-founder of Project Destined told the Bronx Times.
Bobo started Project Destined in 2016 in Detroit, and in 2018 launched a pilot program in the Bronx with several CUNY schools — Baruch, Bronx Community College and Lehman College — and at a few local high schools. He said the goal is to expose teens to real estate and help build a pipeline to the industry.
They study how to do market research, supply and demand, why people are moving to the Bronx, property analysis and much more. Bobo teaches with his colleagues and feels the program has been well received in the school. The goal is to expand to more schools in the borough, he said.
“The kids need to know we care before they accept what you are teaching them,” he said.
Nadir Settles, managing director at Nuveen, has been working closely with Bobo to develop the partnership. He was impressed when he saw Bobo’s plan and knew if the two collaborated, they could positively impact children.
So, they teamed up and the rest is history. A Bronx native, Settles felt compelled to help the youth prepare for the workforce.
“We’re training the next diverse group of leaders,” he said. “Kids entering high school will now have the opportunity to learn this stuff and it’s amazing.”
Among the Comp Sci students who participated in the program were senior Agiel Mitchel and sophomore Destiny Calderon. Calderon, of the South Bronx, who originally had aspirations of being a social worker, heard about the program in 2020, and thought she would give it a try.
She has learned how to evaluate property, credit, debt and many other aspects of the real estate industry. According to Calderon, the internship changed her life, and she now hopes to pursue a career in the field.
“I would recommend it (the internship) to other kids,” she said. “When I first started the program, I wasn’t interested in real estate. Then I started learning about things that caught my attention.”
Mitchel, of Parkchester, told the Bronx Times that the program changed his mind set about how he views buildings and property. Now that he knows about buying property and development, Mitchel envisions a career path in real estate as well.
“I had no real estate experience prior to this,” he said. “I’m going to need to know how it (real estate) works.”
Reach Jason Cohen at email@example.com or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes