Streets University hopes to change urban youth outlook through its enterprise development initiative

Initiative to benefit unemployment low-income youth
Posted: August 18, 2015 – 5:30pm

By IBSA, Inc.

Streets University is a unique program initiative that works to change the attitude, aptitude and economic outlook for young adults and single-parents living in some of America’s most deprived neighborhoods and cities. The program was announced Monday afternoon during a press conference held at the IBSA Office Complex, 629 SE Quincy Street.

Program administrators say this model program will help bring alternative income opportunity to those that already exhibit a high level of enterprising spirit, most of whom will be youth at risk of dropping out of high school or those that may have already dropped out and don’t look to return.

When IBSA founder, Lazone Grays, Jr. was putting the program model together, he said it would specifically be designed for disadvantaged youth and even adults that live in cities where high-levels of unemployment are the norm.

Grays, said “an income opportunity program was created early on within our organization to serve as a core element for experiential learning that is specific to utilizing tech innovation, and relevant to today’s mobile workforce.” The end result for students that take the program serious can lead to actual earned income; both commission and/or residual, as well as flat-fees they can earn for work they do on an as-needed basis. To help build soft-skills and confidence, instruction on the principles of salesmanship is a key component of activity – something Grays believes will prepare those involved for future job interviews or other entrepreneurial opportunities that may present itself over time.

For IBSA, Streets University is a strategic upgrade from the enterprise development program it started off with in 1994 called the Money Tree – Income Opportunity Program. Thanks to advances in technology like smartphones, tables, responsive theme designs and newer drag-n-drop web development tools, the new skill development components of the programs are more inline to preparing interested students for entry-level jobs in technology where creativity or a basic knowledge of code are a prerequisite. Other character-building activities are part of the formal instruction in order to help build or enhance social-skills; which are often cited as lacking in today’s youth and young adults by business leaders looking for quality employees.

Streets University is facilitated through a group setting or one-on-one instruction, but all students work under the supervision of a select program adviser. Individual advisers assist students prepare & perfect their presentation to prospective sponsors, learn tasks associated with using WordPress to build online business profiles and in completing required paperwork necessary for them to learn customer service and understand follow-up that leads to repeat business. Once all necessary steps are complete, the student earns a commission fee for the sponsor recruited or a flat fee for other work we contract them to do. Payments are made via PayPal or by other negotiated agreed upon.

Presentations to business owners that have been identified as prospective program sponsors and/or referred by their adviser are made by students, whom are responsible for scheduling meetings, arriving on-time, being prepared to interview owners and present on their participation in the program. They are coached on appropriate attire, courtesy, proper handshakes, and how to complete proper follow-up such as providing receipts, sending thank you letters, and invoices. A critique form is shared with the business owner to complete and return to the Streets U. Administrator so that any deficiencies can be worked on between the student, adviser and administrator.

Grays states that the program “is strategic to the organization’s fundraising effort just as cookies are to the Girl Scouts. “Not only does this program model provide actual income for students involved on an annual basis, but for our agency equally benefits as well.” For each successful sponsor recruited by a student, they earn up to 50% for successfully completing all follow-up task required to earn their commission; which averages around $60.00 per sponsor recruited. A business can sponsor one student involved in the program for $120.00 per year. Each student is tasked with a goal to secure at-least 25 sponsors within the program cycle and are also required to make four separate follow-up visits throughout that year. There is no cap or restrictions on how many businesses a student can recruit as their program sponsor and any student that successfully recruits their first 25 business sponsors is eligible to receive a new laptop, chromebook or tablet valued at $300.00.

A one-time program enrollment fee of $250.00 is requested with a completed enrollment form; which can either be waived, made on a payment plan or covered by a scholarship secured from a supportive corporate partner.

In 2014, 7 youth participated in the inaugural program conducted during the summer in Topeka, KS and since IBSA began an income opportunity in 1994, over 100 youth have participated in some capacity; with some earning as much as $500 in a weekend or a few months, and others have moved on to earn college scholarships, complete college or are now holding important positions within Fortune 500 companies, universities and nonprofit organizations.

For more information or to enroll as a student, call (913) 735-4272, email us at or visit on the web.

Lazone Grays can be reached at (913) 240-6247 or