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Meet the Dancing Dog Walker: How Entrepreneurship at an Early Age Can Help Students Cope with Change

How many of us are business owners? How many of us could say we started our business in elementary school? Well, meet Anaiah, a.k.a The Dancing Dog Walker, a 5th grade student who created a business after recently moving to Atlanta.

When Anaiah’s family moved from Connecticut to Atlanta it was a total adjustment. The uprooting of Anaiah’s school, friends and life made it hard for her to be the best she could be in school. After finding difficulty coping with the new move, Anaiah decided to put her emotions into things that would give her joy. With the help and support of her mom, teacher and Communities In Schools of Atlanta site coordinator, she combined her love for dancing and walking dogs into her own business.

“My business started because my neighbors told me if I would walk their dog, then they would pay me. So, the idea popped into my head to walk everybody else’s dog because there are so many dogs in my new neighborhood. Plus, I can dance at the same time!” said Anaiah.

From her idea, Anaiah’s business took off. She created business cards, business shirts, hired two employees and currently walks dogs for four clients. She cares for a mix of dogs including a terrier mix, pit-bull, teacup Yorkshire and a husky mix. Since starting her business, Anaiah is blossoming into her calling to be a leader. She is full of energy, has made new friends and is a true leader within her classroom.

“I feel happy that I’m one of the youngest people running a business at my school. I’m happy that I can inspire my new friends and other students to work and own their own business too,” said Anaiah.

Anaiah’s mom is thankful for the support and encouragement from the adults at Anaiah’s school.

“The school is amazing with the support. Her teacher, Mr. Frazier, makes her feel loved. Communities In Schools of Atlanta site coordinator, Ms. Brown, has been great as well. When we first moved here I didn’t know too much about CIS of Atlanta, but Ms. Brown scooped me in and told me all the great things. I asked my daughter about her and her face just lit up. She said she loves her. She helps her manage her emotions and gives her individualized care as a student.”

“Anaiah is truly a leader,” said Ms. Brown, “because she can command a room when she walks in. She has the smile of an angel and she’s always happy. Whenever she’s working on a group project she knows how to delegate, and that’s important as a leader. Because of her, I’m encouraging other kids to become entrepreneurs. Now I have kids on my caseload who want to start a clothing line, make jewelry and even become professional organizers.”

In the next couple of years, Anaiah wants her business to grow and she wants others to be a part of it. She plans to add more staff and even have a few classmates work for her.

“I believe that my baby is amazing,” said Anaiah’s mom. “To come to a new place and to have your world flipped upside down - then to see the positive in life and to move forward - all at 9 years old - it’s just amazing!”

Find out more about Anaiah and her dog walking business on Instagram: @dancing_dog_walker.

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