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Local volunteer helps 17-year-old entrepreneur build her new business

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Jim Martin has been an extension of our Boys & Girls Clubs family since 2005. He's a beloved local volunteer whose dedication to our mission is evident through our staff and Club members' many fond stories of him. Jim is who you call when you need help or guidance. The friendly face who stops in his tracks to compliment a Club member's artwork. The person who can be found with his sleeves rolled up, breaking down tables alongside Club staff after a major fundraising event.

In 2019, Boys & Girls Clubs of America shined the national spotlight on Jim's commitment to empowering local youth and presented him with the 2019 Maytag Dependable Leader Award. Over the past 16 years, Jim’s impact on our organization has expanded across our entire operation from programs to resource development and marketing. Examples of his service include volunteering as an advisory board member for the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club; leading a stop-motion class and teaching Club members how to produce their own animated film; sitting as a panelist in the organization’s Career Spotlight Series; hiring a Club member as an intern; and much more. The list goes on for as far as the eye can see.

Jim is also the Founder & CEO of Captivation Agency, an award-winning creative storytelling collective located in Sarasota, Florida. Jim works with brands, including Boys & Girls Clubs, to elevate and deploy meaningful, engaging, client works in the form of video productions, web development and pixel-perfect design. Since launching his business in 2004, Jim has grown his reach from an independent software developer to the leader of a globally recognized, award-winning creative storytelling agency. 

When our Perlman Price Young Entrepreneurs (PYE) program was searching for the perfect mentor to help Club member Grace further develop her creative pocket t-shirt business Pockets4People, Jim's name rose to the top of the list.

"When I was approached with this opportunity, PYE staff had mentioned how incredibly driven and smart Grace was," Jim says. "But after talking with Grace, it was infinitely apparent that the drive she has to succeed is one not unlike my own at her age, something I really identified with and wanted to help encourage in any way I could!"

After graduating from PYE, Grace brought her fully-developed business plan and vision to Jim at the start of her mentorship.

"As a youth, it's assumed that you will be interested in things other kids are, business isn't normally one of them. It's easy for people to squash that energy - claiming 'there's time for that, be a kid' and although I agree to a certain extent, that spark and interest is rare and it's OK not to be like everyone else!" Jim says. "PYE is a great program for teens like Grace to explore and celebrate this interest."

With Jim's expert eye, Grace was focused on building the foundation of her business from establishing a brand and defining her audience to exploring advertising channels and planning a website.

"Grace and I spent time discussing what she had done thus far with regard to the business and where she wanted to take things," Jim says. "From there, I was able to share my specific experience and what potential blind spots to consider, as well as, the 'pot holes' to avoid. Her personality doesn't need much beyond that - when she picks a direction, she goes for it and executes - and that has been fantastic for her so far!"

Jim also gave Grace some invaluable advice that he learned throughout his own entrepreneurial journey.

"I told her to think about everything that goes into making the shirts she produces - her time, her materials - down to the thread," Jim says. "And her time to fill orders, correspond with customers and marketing to completely understand her margins and what her time, specifically, is really worth."

Jim's keen expertise also encouraged Grace to look for opportunities to maximize her resources.

"I advised Grace to consider not holding inventory, but instead, release a design and accept preorders - receiving funds before having to purchase raw materials," Jim says. "That way, you know how many you need to make, can optimize costs in bulk, and know how much you can afford in additional labor to deliver on time and at the level of quality expected."

With a mentor like Jim, Grace can continue developing those critical skills that are so imperative to achieving a dream like launching a new business.

"Grace is amazing! Whether she is growing this business or pursuing another one of her vast interests, I am excited to see how she continues to grow as an individual, as well as, a business person," Jim says. "As with everything I have had the unique privilege to be involved in at Boys & Girls Clubs, what you get out of the experience always far outweighs your investment in time or talent."

When we asked Jim what he would say to other community members who are interested in becoming a mentor in one of our award-winning programs, he says, "Like happiness, giving of your experience and enthusiasm for a given profession doubles when it is shared."

Our organization is lucky to have such wonderful, caring individuals in the community like Jim whose dedication to our mission results in life-changing opportunities for teens like you.

If you want to benefit from a mentor like Jim, join PYE today!

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