Young Entrepreneurs Capture the Hearts of Wantagh and the Nation

Photo by Grace Kane

Photo by Grace Kane

Grace Kane, Associate Editor

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The beloved Young family hit the big screen on Sunday, October 21 when they appeared on the TV show, Shark Tank. The three Young siblings (Kayley 25, Christian 19, and Keira 15, who is a WHS sophmore) brought their late dad’s idea of the Cup Board Pro to a taping of the ABC show in California over the summer. The Cup Board Pro is a versatile cutting board made from bamboo that has an attachable cup for many uses.

The inventor and FDNY firefighter, Keith Young, died in March at the age of 53 from cancer which was caused by cleaning up the World Trade Center after 9/11. The Youngs also lost their mother, Beth, to cancer in 2012.

The Shark Tank representatives contacted the family, the night before their dad’s one month anniversary, asking them to be on the show. They were very impressed with the product and believed it would do really well on the show.

As for how Keira felt when she learned she’d be on TV, she said, “I felt nauseous but excited to continue my dad’s legacy.”

The Young children started preparing and getting ready for the show. The three of them practiced their pitch and gathered all the info they needed to make a great presentation. They researched the sharks and watched a series of old Shark Tank episodes too see what they would be up against.

The idea was pitched to the sharks and got an unbelievable deal. All 5 sharks (Daymond John, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary and guest Matt Higgins) agreed to contribute $20,000 each for 20% of the company. And the money the sharks earn from their profits will go to the fundraiser of the Young’s choice for other firemen who were affected from 9/11 related illnesses. According to Kaley, she said there are over 2,000 firemen who are currently ill.

“I felt overwhelmed and so surprised that we got a rare deal with all 5 sharks,” Keira said. “We were amazed for them to be kind enough to give back their profit to support sick firemen of 9/11.”

Within 24 hours of the episode airing, the Youngs received orders for an incredible 34,000 boards, which at is over $1 million in gross sales.

While many Americans viewed the show in their homes, it was Keira’s idea to have a fundraiser at the school so that the Wantagh community could come together. “I thought it was the perfect way to watch our accomplishment with all of the people we love surrounding us,” she said.

The Wantagh Board of Education offered the school grounds between the Wantagh Middle school and administration office for the event. They set up a blow-up screen to watch Shark Tank as it aired. The Wantagh community gathered on the grass with blankets and beach chairs supporting the Young family. The outpouring of support was overwhelming as they also raised money for a family friend who is currently fighting breast cancer. One of the sharks, Greiner, called and donated $5,000 as well to this cause. The crowd was thrilled as Kayley Young facetimed Greiner from the fundraiser as she showed her support.

Keira and her siblings were so excited to have been given this opportunity to watch the episode and see everyone’s reactions. “The hardest part was keeping our outcome, from 4 months before, a secret from friends and family,” says Keira.

This whole experience has been surreal. There is so much in store for them in the future.

“I learned how to be a good public speaker and got a little insight on the business world,” she said. “A presentation in school just got that much easier.”

The Young trio are the strongest people I know. They will continue to make their late parents proud. Please consider supporting the Young family by buying a Cup Board Pro or make a donation to the NYFD @firehousechefky.com

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