WOODSIDE — A group of Woodside kids is getting a lesson in business savvy.
Neighborhood nonprofit Woodside On The Move offers an afterschool and summer camp program that teaches fourth, fifth and sixth graders the ins and outs of finance and how to run a business.
The "Business Enterprise" program was started two years ago by instructors Christian Amez and Jason Pratts, who have backgrounds in finance and thought their students could benefit from some entrepreneurial education.
"We saw that there was an opportunity for the kids to learn something outside of the normal curriculum, and we wanted to give them something that didn't follow the 'teach to test' paradigm," said Amez.
This spring, students took classes twice a week after school at P.S. 152 in Woodside where they learned about supply and demand, the history of currency, savings and loans, and how to make and stick to a budget.
"We learned how we're supposed to use our money, where we're supposed to save our money, what kind of banks," said fourth-grader Leilah Villareel.
The students even got a taste of Wall Street.
"We did mock portfolios where they got to buy and sell their own shares," said Pratts. "We gave them capital seed and then they had to manage their own portfolios."
At a graduation ceremony this week, students were given certificates to celebrate their completion of the course and got a commencement speech from local businessman Frank Ottomanelli of the well-known Ottomanelli & Sons butcher shop.
The neighborhood entrepreneur's recent endeavour is the opening of Ottomanelli Burgers and Belgian Fries at 60-15 Woodside Ave., which snagged one of the top award at this year's Queens Taste food competition.
Ottomanelli gave some seasoned advice to the young Woodside business grads.
"If you go into business, dream as much as you can, work as hard as you can and put the customer first," he told the kids. "And always give back to your community."
Those interested in learning more about Woodside on the Move's educational programs can find more on their website www.woodsideonthemove.org.