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Quincy native making an impact on Chicago's most vulnerable youth



QUINCY, ILL. — Britney Robins credits her Quincy roots for providing her with the skill set and appreciation to connect with people on all sorts of outlooks on life.

And now, this Quincy native is making an impact on Chicago's most vulnerable youth.

It's all a part of her non-profit organization, "The Gray Matter Experience".

It's geared toward empowering the young, black community in the city.

The 10-week program gives African American high school students from schools across Chicago an entrepreneurial experience.

The program allows them access to professionals, entrepreneurs and other resources.

The idea is to grow their interest and inspire them to create and launch their own businesses geared towards helping to impact their communities.

Robbins said the earlier students can grasp and understand entrepreneurship, the more likely they will carry it over into their adult lives.

"I wanted to give our students the opportunity to not only learn but to see people that looked like them in these roles. To be able to see that there are black founders that exist and black companies that they don't even know about that exist and are thriving. To be able to hear their stories directly, and see themselves in that person. Then provide them with the resources and access that they need to actually launch a business," Robbins said.

At the end of the program, those who are serious about entrepreneurship and wish to pursue the business he/she worked on throughout the program will have the money, mentorship and resources to actually get their business started.

The organization has received private grants, and has also had two successful crowdfunding campaigns.

Robbins said they are currently looking for funding for their next cohort that will begin in March.

"The Gray Matter Experience" has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago's Fox 32, Essence Magazine and more and was launched in July.

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We believe empowering youth to create their own businesses can have great impact on their own self-worth, perception of the meaning of success, and can positively impact underrepresented neighborhoods across Chicago.

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