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Middle Schooler’s Business Hires Youth to Help Residents With Chores

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

A student at Swanson Middle School launched a business earlier this year where young people can be hired to help residents with various simple chores.

Charlotte Cunningham, 13, launched Youth Neighborhood Care in May. So far, she is the only young person available for chores, from 3:30-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and by appointment at the weekends.

It currently operates in the Tara-Leeway Heights neighborhood, but Cunningham said she hopes to expand in the New Year to hire more youths and maybe go into more neighborhoods.

“I definitely want to go to the civic association meetings and talk about the power of youth and get that out there to tell people how youth are so critical to things and their capabilities,” Cunningham said. “I want to maybe create a podcast or something like that to get awareness out as much as I can, and that’s towards the end of the year. Then when I pick up again in the new year, I’m going to try to start getting more youth involved.”

Services provided to residents, for a fee, include babysitting, dog-walking, performing outside chores like raking leaves and running local errands. And Cunningham said that not only will hiring youth make a positive impact on the community, it will benefit residents who hire them.

“I’m really trying to show people that instead of hiring company after company, you can hire youth and they can get the job done more efficiently,” Cunningham said.

YNC got its business license earlier this year, and Cunningham participated in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy to develop her business plan, pitch to investors and launch the company.

She said she also enjoyed the networking aspect of YEA! — meeting other local small business owners and learning more about something she had aspired to do for a while.

“I’ve always wanted to run a business or do something like that,” Cunningham said. “When I found out about the program, I was very excited. I knew this was it, that this was going to help me make my dream come true. I’ve always wanted to start a business, and at least run something. That really helped me out.”

And while it might appear to be challenging to balance running her own business with the demands of going to school full-time, Cunningham said she is doing fine and is confident she can handle the coming expansion.

“It’s manageable, because I’m not working with any products. I’m not communicating with any manufacturers, so it’s just me communicating with people,” she said. “What I do is I come home from school, I check my emails and then towards the weekends or days off I do stuff that I wouldn’t have time to do during the day. It’s actually fairly manageable, but some days it can get tough. But that’s just business.”

Courtesy photo

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