Darryl English (right), CEO of WeDream Technical Solutions, teaches Danattus Arbertha (left), Metro High School senior

It all started during the pandemic.

With an interest in technology and extra time at home, Danattus Arbertha—then a junior at Metro High School—started watching a lot of videos of phone repairs. He then began trying out his newfound skills by repairing his sister’s cell phone.

“I was like, ‘I feel like I can do this,’” says Arbertha, now a Metro senior.

As a participant in the Metro STEAM Academy, he had been exposed to manufacturing products and entrepreneurship. A class visit to the nearby NewBo City Market, however, opened a new door for Arbertha.

“It happened pretty organically; [the class was] down at the market and we noticed WeDream Technical Solutions,” explains Chuck Tonelli, a science teacher at Metro. “We asked Sarah [Blais] about it and were able to set up a work-based learning opportunity for Danattus.”

Blais, the director of development at Newbo, has had a relationship with Metro for several years and connects students with the unique business incubator space that Newbo provides, including the Youth Entrepreneur Market—a student-only vendor market held every quarter.

“Chuck had a lightbulb moment and realized Darryl [English, CEO of WeDream] was somebody Danattus could really grow under as a mentor and also see a way to monetize something that he’s really passionate about,” explains Blais.

Arbertha is learning skills he can take with him into the future.

“He knows cell phone repair and device repair, so what I’m doing is introducing him to a whole different aspect of repair,” says English. “That way he learns computer diagnostics and wherever he goes he’ll have this skill set.”

This connection would not have happened without the relationships Arbertha has with his teachers.

“When students have these sorts of new opportunities, they need someone that they trust to encourage them and help and support them to get to the next step,” explains Tonelli. “I think the relationship piece is the most powerful part of what we can offer kids.”