Boys & Girls Clubs of King County
Austin first started attending Boys & Girls Clubs of King County's Renton/Skyway Unit when he was eight years old. The Club has been an important part of his life for the past nine years and served as a place where he transformed beyond just a member to a leader, volunteer and role model.
Austin first participated in Money Matters in middle school and continued to volunteer with the program in high school. Through the Money Matters program, Austin learned to manage his money and become "much more responsible and conscious of finances." With this knowledge he hopes to empower other young youth in the community to manage their money and be responsible at any age.
One of the most impactful lessons Austin experienced during his time with Money Matters was around entrepreneurship. He and a close friend currently own their own media and entertainment company, "Northwest Empyre", specializing in all types of media ranging from DJ to photography services. He also helped plan the 2012 Renton/Skyway C.E.O. (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) Summit, where local community entrepreneurs presented to Club youth.
"The lessons I learned in Money Matters have been invaluable not only in running my current business but also my personal finances," he says. "My business partner and I were able to invest all of our profits back into the business to buy more equipment, do larger events and make more money."
As a graduating senior, his long-term goal is to become an engineer and one day run his own engineering company. Currently he is on the path to make that dream become a reality and will attend the Rochester Institute for Technology (New York) this fall. Austin is an advanced student, taking several honors classes, and at the culmination of his senior year, he will have completed the entire math sequence offered by his high school which will let him enter college as a third year math student.
According to Club staff, Austin has been a great representative for his Club where he serves as a Junior Staff Technology Intern. He is also head of the Club's STEM initiative, which teaches members about various components of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum. Austin has won various awards through his school such as the Aviation High School Love of Life Award, Seattle University Summer Business Institute Best Group and Best Overall Presenter. Additionally he won Youth of the Quarter two times, and was the Club's Youth of the Year in 2012.
Through all his experiences at the Club, and most notably by taking Money Matters, Austin has realized that just because he is young does not mean he's incapable of doing something that matters. He sums up his experience as an entrepreneur as, "If you do what you love, you'll love what you do."