PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A team of teens is running a nonprofit that’s feeding kids and teaching lessons in business and health. Every Wednesday, a West Philadelphia test kitchen is teeming with teenagers.
“It’s youth power all the way,” said 17-year-old Simin Deveauxbray.
These students are part of Rebel Ventures. It’s a nonprofit business run by high schoolers in partnership with the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I like it here. There’s all good vibes. There’s no negativity,” said 14-year-old Kennysha Stanley.
Rebel Ventures got started a few years ago, explains co-executive director Tre’Cia Gibson, after they won a pitch contest to develop a healthy breakfast snack for schools.
“It had to have a half-cup of fruit, 36 grams of grain, and half of that had to be whole grain,” Gibson said.
In 2017, they debuted their first product, Rebel Crumbles, which are now served twice a month to Philadelphia school children. Every breakfast is an opportunity for a taste test. That’s information they’re using in the test kitchen to develop some new flavors.
“We were making vegan banana apple,” Deveauxbray said, “and vegan apple crumble.”
So far, Rebel Ventures has sold 1 million Crumbles to the school district. Gibson is now 20 and a college freshman, and she’s teaching the business to the younger students.
“I’ve learned how to work in teams. I’ve learned how to plan events,” Deveauxbray said.
Fifteen-year-old William Chaney said, “I’ve learned how to write professional emails. I’ve learned how to network with people.”
The Rebel Crumbles are also being sold in some local stores, including the Shoprite in ParkWest Town Center.
In 2020, Rebel Ventures hopes to open its own cafe.