Camp Destination Innovation founder receives $1,200 Helping Hand

Published: Apr. 17, 2019 at 10:11 AM CDT
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Jobs and a qualified workforce - two things you hear about quite a bit.

One Wichita woman is trying to do her part by giving teens the tools they need, not just to be a qualified worker, but to create jobs as well.

Born and raised in Wichita, Marquetta Atkins is all about the next generation.

"Our youth are the now," she said. "We have this conversation in Wichita all the time about creating a better workforce, a stronger workforce, but we don't have a conversation about who's going to create this new workforce that's coming about."

We caught up with her in March when she was helping the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, an opportunity for Wichita area high school students to show off their business skills.

She got this opportunity because of Camp Destination Innovation, a camp she founded nearly six years ago.

The camp is geared toward showing kids career opportunities outside of traditional norms, with an emphasis on entrepreneurship.

"It's so important that we create innovators, that we create the creators to create the jobs for this new workforce and that's why this is important," said Atkins.

For the month of June, 35 to 40 teenagers have access to some of the state's most influential entrepreneurs. She's been able to help hundreds of kids, who turn around and help their community.

"I say our youth are the now, so we're taking care of the now, and when you take care of the now, we won't have to fix things later," said Atkins.

Recognizing the good she's doing, Eyewitness News and DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers surprised her with a $1,200 Helping Hand.

Her response was one of shock."Are you serious? Oh my gosh, you guys. I wasn't ready for this and I'm a cry baby, so. My gosh, thank you guys."

Normally someone who is giving money to outstanding teenagers - Atkins got to meet Dustin DeVaughn and Richard James to see what it feels like to be on the receiving end.

"We're honored to be here with camp destination innovation. We love what you're doing with young entrepreneurs and encouraging them. Thank you we're excited to give you a helping hand," James says.