While most of us see teenagers selling water bottles as being resourceful, police in Washington D.C. saw a criminal offense. Fortunately, someone else saw the early signs of entrepreneurship and acted on it.

Raymond Bell, the founder and administrator of the HOPE Project, has stepped in to offer jobs to two teenagers who were recently handcuffed for selling water bottles on the National Mall without a license. 

“I’m an entrepreneur myself, and I love seeing young people having an interest in working for themselves,” Bell told WJLA.

Bell is already training Nolan White and Devin Gatewood to be the next success stories of the HOPE Project, which specializes in offering information technology training and youth mentorship. It actually stands for “Helping Other People Excel.”

“We hope to be bringing them on board as iPhone-screen-replacement technicians here at HOPE Project,” Bell said of White and Gatewood.

The detainment of the teens, and two others, sparked national outrage as officers were criticized for overreacting and targeting them based on their race. A local councilman even asked what would have happened if they were young white children selling lemonade instead?

Fortunately, the exposure brought Bell into the situation to offer a great assist. He also hopes to reach out to the other two people who were detained that day.

“I just want to thank the guy who took the picture, but without him, none of these opportunities would have been possible,” Nolan said.

Nolan is going into his junior year of high school and Devin is currently a senior.

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