"They must dress in business attire to meet with the banker, Dr. Stella Horton, our executive director," said Veronica Wynn, director of admissions and community liaison for the center. "Then they have to order their supplies and pay off the loan. After they pay off the loan, the money they bring in is theirs."
Serrano, a two-year veteran of the entrepreneurial program, said the hot weather was helping sales at her Sixth and Market Streets location.
"It's certainly made sales higher," said the eighth grader, who wants to run her own day-care center someday. She concedes it might be tempting to eat some of her product when it gets especially hot, but she has resisted.
"I drink a lot of water," she said, laughing.
Joseph Andrade, 16, also is a veteran of the program. He has risen to the rank of junior staff, helping the students set up their business sites each day. The businesses are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each weekday, except when it rains, and will continue until Aug. 18.
"I help them set up their coolers and get organized each day," Andrade said. "I also help substitute at sites when someone can't do it."
Andrade, an 11th grader who wants to operate his own game-design business, agreed that the hot weather had been beneficial for the young businesspeople.
Wynn sees the program as a benefit not only to the young entrepreneurs, but also to the city and region.
"Youth are 25 percent of the city," Wynn said. "They are needed for its revitalization. This program teaches them responsibility. They are Camden's future. If Camden fails, so does the region."