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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — On one recent Saturday, a group of kids were boarding the bus for their future – literally.
They have all been chosen to be a part of Project Destined, an innovative real estate based education program, for urban youths that teaches them financial literacy and leadership development through mentorship.
It was created by Cedric Bobo and Fred Greene, successful businessmen themselves who want to spread the wealth showing kids how to invest and own property in order to be financially successful.
“We’re really teaching ownership at the end of the day. You can be a basketball player, a nurse , a fire fighter but the great thing about real estate is you can do all those things on the side, you can be an owner, not only owner – but you can be owner where you are in your life,” said Fred Greene, Co-founder of Project Destined.
“We own in Detroit. We own in Memphis and are now launching in The Bronx. Our goal is to be in markets around the country teaching kids how to become stakeholders in their own communities. Whether you want to be a doctor or nurse or engineer, you can still learn how to invest, because if your neighborhood changes you become an investor in it,” said Co-founder Cedric Bobo.
Thanks to the investment provided by Project Destined, the 23 kids today are now owners of a 226 unit property in Pembroke Park. They are now landlords and touring their property piece-by-piece and learning first hand from the best of the best in the business of how to fix and manage it.
These tenants are going to be treated here just like they’re living in a 1 million dollar condo. Then you can raise rents, because they know they have great value,” said legendary baseball star Alex Rodriguez while talking to the kids poolside at the rental unit they all now own.
A-Rod met Cedric and Fred at a JLO concert and soon after, he partnered with Project Destined to bring them to South Florida. On this day, they are mentoring kids chosen from The Boys and Girls Club and 5000 Role Models.
CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo was there and asked Rodriguez why he wanted to be in involved with Project Destined.
“I’m a local kid. My biggest mentor was The Boys and Girls Club. We never had any money to buy a house. We rented our whole life,” said A-Rod. “I remember saying, ‘Boy if I could could ever switch places with the landlord and not be the tenant, I would do that.’ So in my early 20s, I bought my first apartment building and I’ve been in the business for over 18 years.”
The apartment building project is a fixer upper. They are expecting to put in some 1.2 million dollars in renovations, and that’s exactly what they’re teaching the kids. It’s all about assets versus liabilities.
“My message to them is simple there’s more than one way to get out of the hood. You don’t need to wear pinstripes and hit home runs. You don’t have to wear short shorts and dunk a basketball, you can also get educated and be an entrepreneur, wear a suit and tie everyday and do really well,” Rodriguez explained.
And as for the kids, they all know its an opportunity of a lifetime
“It’s awesome as I never thought I’d get the opportunity to learn all of this which not many do, and it’s for free, on top of that,” said student Ashley Alecio.
“I feel, with this program, it’s educating me. Not only am I bettering myself, but I’m bettering my community,” said Joshua Salter, an alumni from Memphis.
Both Alex and his world famous girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, are excited about what they are doing together to help kids build a successful future.
“We both come from humble beginnings. She’s from The Bronx, and me, from Washington Heights and then here in Miami. It feels good to come back here in my community and give back.”
“It’s very cool,” said Petrillo.
“Thank you for being here,” A-Rod said to Petrillo.