YEA! started in the children's room at the First University Seventh-day Adventist Church located at 1912 E. 139th Ave., Tampa, FL 33613. We started with founder Marsha-Ann Clarke teaching a group of four teenagers about the basics of using the computer and entrepreneurship. As more children came to the program, and as computers became a part of the classroom activity, operations outgrew this space and forced us to seek a new home where we could more effectively serve a greater number of participants.
In June of 2003, YEA! entered into an agreement with the Police Athletic League of Tampa (PAL), which allowed us to move operations two blocks South to our current location at 13704 N. 20th Street. YEA! has been at this location since then. In 2004, PAL turned over full responsibility of the property to YEA!
This new facility houses a full classroom, which can serve up to twenty students, as well as a small office space. In addition to the classroom and office, YEA! now sits on an expanse of property that includes a community soccer field, a basketball court, a pond and a small playground.
Genesis of Project CUB
Through funding from the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and the Office of Neighborhood Relations, YEA! mobilized the community members and other social and private agencies with a common goal to Unite and Beautify the surroundings. Project CUB was born.
Development of CPU-4-U
By November of 2003, the Teen Techs had successfully demonstrated their entrepreneurial skills in formal presentation by earning a grant of $2,000 from Youth As Resources. This grant allowed the youth to pass on their knowledge and skills to other youth in the community and rebuild computers to be donated to other youth and families as well. This program became formally known as CPU-4-U.
Expansion With The VIP
As YEA! continued to grow, we soon recognized the need for additional skilled people. However, as a start-up non-profit with limited funding, this was a challenge. Fall 2004 was the formal start of the Volunteer Internship Program. This allowed bright young minds from the Honors College and other programs at the University of South Florida to volunteer with YEA! to complete high quality projects and earn the credits for their Honors Thesis. YEA! is as strong as the people on our team so our volunteers are indeed Very Important People.
Growth of Entrepreneurship
Youth Entrepreneurship was, and continues to be, the underlying principal for all YEA! programs. Eight of the community children who successfully completed the program were awarded with an initial deposit of $15 in a minors account at a local bank. These participants earned their venture capital by developing entrepreneurial attributes during the course and earning profits through their very own micro-enterprise called 'The YEA! Candy Store.'
In the summer of 2006 YEA! was selected by the University Area Community Development Corporation as a Prodigy site. Prodigy is a Cultural Arts Program which empowers youth through the arts.
It is funded by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Children from the community have exploded with talent through this new program, and have stolen the hearts of hundreds as they perform at events like the UACDC Fundraising Gala.