Seats remain open for Youth Empowerment Luncheon

Published 2:56 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2022

LAPLACE — Community advocate Akeem Burl is joining forces with 8-year-old entrepreneur Jayce Berfect for a Youth Empowerment Luncheon aiming to open new doors for youth ages 8 to 13.

The Youth Empowerment Luncheon is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday July 30 at The Grand Venue, located at 542 Belle Terre Blvd. in LaPlace. During the event, children will set attainable goals for the future and discuss ways to turn their passions into business opportunities.

“I felt the need to host an event to empower youth to get involved in our community and to start thinking about their future and what they want to do going forward,” Burl said. “I consider myself a young mind, and I want to use the creativity that God has blessed me with to pour back into the youth.”

Jayce, the young guest speaker for the event, is proof that children can accomplish anything they set their mind to. Jayce started his business, Trash 2 Curb, earlier this summer to get a jump start on saving money for college (and Fortnite V-Bucks). He dreams of one day becoming an astronaut.

Jayce charges $2 per can per week to pull trashcans to the curb. He also offers trash can cleaning services for $10 after trash has been picked up.

What started as a small venture in his Gonzales neighborhood has grown into a full-fledged business, according to Jayce’s mother, Jamyra Berfect.

“It started with one customer and has grown to 45 to 50 customers a week,” Berfect said. “It’s definitely inspiring for other kids because it lets them know that, whatever you desire to do, you just need to stick at it. That’s what he did. He didn’t give up on it. He tried a different way to make it work for him.”

Jayce has started writing notes in preparation for the Youth Empowerment Luncheon. He plans to talk about his business and how it has become a way to help others.

While Jayce lives in Gonzales, he plans on expanding Trash 2 Curb to different areas, including the River Parishes, on weekends in the near future.

According to Burl, children attending the Youth Empowerment Luncheon will also have an opportunity to create vision boards to reflect on their personal goals.

“Hopefully, they will be able to look back at that board and be inspired to continue to push,” Burl said. “You don’t have to be a certain age to make goals for yourself or to make goals for the future. Even as a 32-year-old, I create vision boards for myself to stay focused on my own personal goals.”

Vision boards might include dreams of future colleges and careers, sports goals, or motivation from the role models in a child’s life.

“I also want to encourage them to set goals related to financial literacy — saving money, getting into the stock market and learning about the cost of living. I want them to think about their career choices and research how much it costs to go to college and what income can come from that career,” Burl said. “I want it to be based around realistic goals. I want kids to really put their minds to work to think about what they really want to do when they grow up.”

Open seating is still available, and the registration cost is $20. Thanks to generous support from the community, sponsorships have covered the registration of the first 20 children who signed up for the event.

Lunch, a live DJ and door prizes will be provided in a relaxing and comfortable environment.

For more information about the Youth Empowerment Luncheon, contact Burl via Facebook or by phone at 985-212-7281.