updated 5/16/2011 7:18:30 PM ET 2011-05-16T23:18:30

SAN DIEGO, May 16, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Harmonium, Inc. is pleased to announce that its teen entrepreneurs recycling art production company, Eco-Eventerprise, was the recipient of the top prize at last week's Junior Achievement (JA) "The Next Big Thing" Entrepreneur Showcase. Eco-Eventerprise competed against 12 other San Diego high school companies and walked away with the highest honor, along with a special trophy and an invitation to compete at the national JA competition in Washington DC July 25 to 29, 2011, against other winning companies from the United States and Canada. 

Eco-Eventerprise is a youth entrepreneurial business operating through Harmonium's Epicentre/San Diego Regional Teen Center. Supported by Harmonium's mission of bringing wellness to families and youth through prevention and intervention the program teaches teens how to work and to provide leadership in a business environment by providing them the opportunity to independently run a company. The teen company, currently comprised of 10 students striving for success in their future, creates unique, custom-designed table centerpieces from recycled materials such as plastic soda bottles, water bottles, paper plates and Styrofoam cups. Participating students each hold a specific position and are responsible for running all aspects of the company, including design, production, marketing, sales and finance. While Harmonium provides training and education in business entrepreneurship as part of the program, the teens must work together to develop and execute a profitable business plan. Beginning in June 2011, the program will be expanding to more than 20 youth to meet additional demand. 

"At Harmonium, we have learned that the necessary components for providing wellness for youth in San Diego are: 1) Positive personal and social experiences; 2) Safe environments outside of school hours; 3) Opportunities and education for work; and 4) Integrated systems that support mental and physical health," said Meredith Foellmi, Director of the Epicentre. "Eco-Eventerprise accomplishes these goals by combining an education in entrepreneurship and business with the social support systems that encourage personal, mental and physical health in a safe, socially nurturing environment while earning money and acquiring job readiness skills."

Production of the recycled art centerpieces takes place during the hours in which youth are most in need of positive alternatives after school. Eco-Eventerprise's product line includes hand-made centerpieces of varying sizes, sold from anywhere between $10-$75 to corporations, event planners, nonprofits and government entities. Product samples and information on ordering can be found on their Facebook page, Eco-Eventerprise.

A key function of Harmonium's Eco-Eventerprise program, in addition to teaching entrepreneurial skills, is providing the participating youth with mental and physical health screenings, individual, family and group counseling, case management when needed, substance abuse support, job readiness training and financial management education. "This program is unique in that we seek to bring together youth facing challenges in school so they can experience support and success working together for fun and profit" said Doug Reiss, COO for Harmonium. Funding for these support services stems from private and government grants and contracts.

Harmonium's Epicentre uniquely combines values important to entrepreneurship, private business, community mental health, gang prevention and job development through the Eco-Enterprise program, while generating revenue from producing and selling environmentally friendly products that appeal to Harmonium's customers and supporters.

Contact: Karen Hutchens

About Harmonium, Inc.

Harmonium was established in 1975 through an enterprising blend of vision and necessity to respond to Mira Mesa's rapidly growing need for juvenile diversion services. Harmonium continues to shape its mission, goals and services by listening to the needs of neighborhoods, individuals and families. 

Harmonium, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that reaches more than 30,000 San Diegans a year, currently offers a wide array of innovative and customized program services to over 5,000 children, youth, and families each day throughout San Diego County. Harmonium believes creative planning, collaboration, and strength-based intervention results in high quality services that promote well-being. For more information, visit http://www.harmoniumsd.org/ .

This information was brought to you by Cision http://www.cisionwire.com

The following files are available for download:

wkr0005.pdf PDF
[Image] Eco-Eventerprise

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