The goal of Kids Can is to inspire creativity and innovation among youth in the City of Las Cruces and Doña Ana County with the aim of fostering successful entrepreneurship and business development skills at an early age, thus teaching area youth important life lessons such as leadership, speaking and confidence-building, self-reliance and personal empowerment, and financial and business literacy. New programs are underway such as Junior Chefs and “The Kids Café”, Junior Chemist, and The Babysitting Club. Youth will attend weekly “Super Saturdays”, after-school enrichment classes, and week-long camps. The Junior Chef will employ under-utilized kitchen space in the community, where youth may share facility’s kitchen and educational space to cook and learn kitchen concepts and safety, then show off what they learned with at “The Kids Cafe”. Youth showcase and grow their businesses monthly at the KC Junior Vendor Program at the Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market Saturdays from 8:30am- 1pm. 22 youth led businesses rotate on monthly basis.
In April and November of each year, workshops are held in advance of business building events to give youth the opportunity to receive valuable feedback. Youth circulate through business plan stations, get product feedback and practice making the perfect pitch, as well as ask questions of representatives from CAASNM, NMSU, the Green Chamber, the City’s Economic Development Department, and local business owners. The events also feature a motivational speakers and networking activities. These workshops are designed to prepare participants for success at the upcoming business showcase.
At the Spring Bazaar and Fall Showcase, youth take their products to be judged by area business leaders. Their products and business concepts are evaluated on most original business idea, highest business potential, and best presentation/creativity.