KANSAS CITY, MO — Keylan Shape, 11, doesn’t feel like there are a lot of Black entrepreneurs, and he plans on fixing that.
He wants to be a real estate developer, and this summer, he’s laying the right foundation
The 11-year-old is one of dozens of young people between the ages of seven through 14 gaining real world exposure through a nonprofit called Entitled Learning.
Kevin Thompson is one of the facilitators.
“We want to expose our students at a young age,” Thompson said. “We don’t want to wait until they get to high school and say, ‘What do you want to be for the rest of your life,’”
According to a 2019 report from the Urban Land Institute, only 5% of its members are Black, while 82% are white.
“And to be involved in real estate, you have to be educated on what real estate is,” Thompson said. “And what power is being held when you own your own real estate.”
This seven-week course for elementary and middle schoolers is teaching them everything about real estate, from developing to contracting and zoning.
Shape and students like 9-year-old Cambrie Haislip, are looking at success stories like Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“Black people had Black business. I didn’t know they could have businesses,” Cambrie said.
The kids are also learning about stories they hope to re-write, such as the inequities caused by redlining in Kansas City.
“JC Nichols was the historic developer who came up with the concept,” Thompson said. “And then he took that concept and used it across the United States.”
The class even covers topics you may see at your local council meeting.
“You should learn that you shouldn’t put the residential by the industrial, because it can cause cancer and chemicals,” Cambrie said.
Entitled Learning’s curriculum is just for the summer, but they are working to integrate parts of it into several school districts across the Kansas City area, including the Kansas City Public Schools district.
For more on Entitled Learning, click here.