Go Back

Our Stories

Meet Cindy

Cindy Schluckebier implements Youth Entrepreneurs curriculum with a unique twist - enabling students to run a business. “It’s important not to shy away from trying new things. Put yourself out there and take risks.” Meet Cindy.


Her path to YE: “This is my 14th year teaching in the Independence (Mo.) School District, and I teach YE in a unique setting,” says Cindy, “I have the opportunity of leading two student-run businesses: a clothing store called All Things Independence and a bakery called A Taste of Independence.

Before she found her calling as a teacher, Cindy's family owned a clothing store for more than 75 years. Through her childhood, she learned how to grow and sustain a business. Cindy now enjoys both her passion for entrepreneurship and retail operations through teaching YE.

What she loves most about YE: Cindy knows that YE opens doors for students who might miss out otherwise. “YE is what the teacher and student want to make it, and at its best, YE helps students become opportunity obsessed. That’s what I love: all of the opportunities for students. The ‘aha!’ moments they have are awesome to witness. The other thing I love is leading with Foundational Values.”

Most memorable mindset shift: Cindy attended YE’s Spring Break Academy in March in Phoenix, Ariz., where educators had the chance to experience activities from a student’s perspective. “ Going into the event, I was already excited about YE, but when I got there I observed activities based on Foundational Values. I sat back, as a teacher, and saw how important Foundational Values were not only in student lives but my life as well.”

Inspired from her own learning experience, Cindy created Foundational Values badges for her students. The program starts with helping the students set personal goals and then awards them as they work to apply Foundational Values in their own lives.

Day in the life: “No day is the same in my environment. Everything is student operated, and we decide what students will do each week. We have ‘departments’ based on an organization chart, and serve the customer - that’s the number one goal - bringing value to those customers every day.”

How she defines entrepreneur for her students: Cindy believes in a broader definition of “entrepreneurship” . “Entrepreneurship is in my blood,” says Cindy, “when I was little, being an entrepreneur meant owning your own business. But now, it’s much more than that. Being an entrepreneur is being willing to take risks. Being willing to put yourself out there. No matter what my students do in life, having those basic skills and that basic mindset will take them far.”

A great obstacle Cindy has overcome: “In the last year,” says Cindy, “I feel comfortable about basic business skills, but I’m now tasked with screen printing, because we need to be able to screen print if we want to succeed - I’ll watch YouTube videos or whatever it takes, because you may not always know how to run every aspect of your business. But I love the quote from Marie Forleo who says, “everything is figureoutable” and it’s true - sometimes I just need to figure it out, and our students need to figure it out. That’s being an entrepreneur - having the mindset that you may not know, but you can always figure it out day-by-day.”

If her students remember one thing: The benefits of risk-taking is something Cindy imparts on her students. “Failing is a part of life - nobody's perfect. YE helps kids realize that, but it is scary to fail and no one wants to do it. However, a lot of times we learn more from our failures than our successes. It’s also important not to shy away from trying new things. Put yourself out there and take risks. It will be OK.”

Feeling inspired to bring the YE curriculum to your students? Through YE Academy get the resources and interactive curriculum you need to get started in your classroom today.