DC Students Learn Ins and Outs of Real Estate Business via Project Destined

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Thirty high school students from Friendship Collegiate Academy and Friendship Tech Prep Academy in Washington, D.C., are completing Project Destined, a 10-week course that teaches them about opportunities in commercial and residential real estate developments.

The social impact platform was co-founded by Cedric Bobo, former principal at The Carlyle Group, and utilizes an online teaching curriculum to educate students in the fundamentals of deal financing and sourcing, market research and the actual acquisition of real estate properties.

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BroCAR Properties is one of the sponsors of the Project Destined initiative in D.C., and helped arrange the partnership with the schools. BroCAR’s co-founders, Ckori Jones and Ashref Elshazli, are former teachers who were very familiar with the educational landscape.

“The current educational system lacks a real estate component and focusing on real estate is something tangible that the youth can run with, either by obtaining a license, experiencing a field they may want to pursue in the future, or, at minimum, be exposed to terms like equity, financing and appreciation,” Jones told Commercial Observer. “The main areas where investing is taking place is right in their backyard. We feel that they should be the beneficiary of the tremendous growth that is taking place.”

Project Destined introduces students to real opportunities, and teaches them how to acquire real estate and turn a profit, based in part on the utilization of real-life local properties that the students visit and study. The students are using Minnesota Commons Apartments and Alexandria Gardens in southeast Washington as the models in their studies.

“The students learn how to assess the value of a property, how to understand comparables, make market assessments, learn about structuring deal financing, plus improve public speaking and team collaboration,” Jones said.

Part of the program is a “Shark Tank”-like pitch competition, where students make investment presentations to judges.

“Project Destined has transformed our students in numerous ways, including changing their mindset about property and real estate,” Michael Robinson, director of extended learning programs for Friendship Public Charter School, which both high schools in the program are part of, said. “They experience construction activities in D.C., but previously didn’t envision themselves as part of the industry. Now they do, with many expressing the desire to pursue real estate as a possible career. It has been life-changing in so many ways.” 

Project Destined is currently in 15 cities across the country, and the next D.C. session will begin this summer.

“Our hope is that this exposure will broaden their perspective as it relates to what they want to be in life,” Jones said. “The real estate field is filled with multiple aspects. This introduction gives them some degree of clarity to this expansive world of possibility for the future.”