For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2016

(New Orleans, La.) - Teach For America and Fidelity Bank have invited local students, teachers and mentors to generate solutions to some of the most pressing community issues facing New Orleans such as public safety, criminal justice and bullying as part of the culmination of a year-long pilot program called Young Entrepreneurs' Challenge Project (YECP).

The program uses collaborative talent to foster leadership and innovative entrepreneurship among New Orleans K-12 students by working with teachers and business and community leaders to identify social injustice issues, research their roots and impacts and create various business and social ventures to address the problems.

Throughout the school year, students and teachers discussed six primary areas of focus which included public safety, criminal justice, feminism and sexual health, child abuse and bullying, youth empowerment and change making ideas. The young entrepreneur program is designed to include student empowerment and leadership in the city's educational system in an attempt to end the social injustices in New Orleans and to create personal success for all participating students.

The YECP curriculum teaches students skills such as organizational management and development, while also immersing the students in value-oriented goals. "These children are the future of New Orleans. The Young Entrepreneurs' Challenge Project teaches students how to think strategically, believe in themselves and see their value to New Orleans. Fidelity Bank's mission is Here for Good, and our Fidelity Bankers live our mission by giving back and serving as mentors for special projects like the YECP. We can't teach them ingenuity, but we can help them think, operate and respond with an entrepreneurial mindset," says Alton McRee, President and CEO of Fidelity Bank.

The culmination of the YECP will take place on Monday, May 16th at Xavier University where students, teachers, community leaders, and Fidelity Bank and Teach For America members will share thoughts and provide feedback on business plans formulated by students. After a morning of collaborative sessions with students challenging each other, students will break into focus groups. The winning team will be considered for funding and implementation.

Teach For America recognizes the classroom is a powerful place for students to find their voice. With the large number of young entrepreneurs moving to New Orleans each year to launch their own companies and social ventures, the Young Entrepreneurs' Challenge Project was a natural step in classroom innovation. "Each member of our community shares an important role in education. To ensure that we're preparing all students to play an active role in their education and chart a course to their college and career aspirations, it will require a new approach to leadership. To facilitate meaningful change in our communities, we must cultivate teachers and school leaders who will in turn empower our youth to visualize their own leadership potential in their neighborhoods" says Kira Orange Jones, Executive Director, Teach For America-Greater New Orleans. In its first year, the YECP has received support from 15 business and community leaders who serve as mentors and advisers, and the program has reached six local schools and 200 students.

About Fidelity Bank

Founded in 1908, Fidelity Bank is a mutual financial institution chartered by the state of Louisiana with 18 branches throughout Southeast Louisiana. Fidelity Bank provides a full array of banking services, with high integrity and personalized service to communities throughout Southeast Louisiana. For more information, visit

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Today, 8,600 corps members are teaching in 52 urban and rural regions across the country while more than 42,000 alumni work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit


Matt Willard | 504.235.1009 |
Steve Schulkens | 504.401.6990 |