Locations: Boston and Waltham, Massachusetts
“More Than Words (MTW) began as an online bookselling training program for youth in DCF custody in 2004 and opened its vibrant bookstore on Moody St in Waltham in 2005 and added its Starbucks coffee bar in 2008. MTW replicated its model in the South End of Boston in 2011, thereby doubling the number of youth served annually.”
“MTW believes that when system-involved youth are challenged with authentic and increasing responsibilities in a business setting, and are given high expectations and a culture of support, they can and will address personal barriers to success, create concrete action plans for their lives, and become contributing members of society.”
The relationship between the youth employees and adults is unique. More Than Words has various managers (youth development, operations, business development) who support young people to run the business and move forward with their goals around education, employment and self-efficacy. The young people are looking for professional opportunities for various reasons. Some are looking for job experience, and others have run into many barriers in their lives and are simply searching for a supportive work environment.
While young people are employed in the core of the social enterprise for 6-12 months, More Than Words supports them for two years after their graduation from MTW around education and employment. The youth do not have to pay to be a part of More Than Words. Rather, they are paid hourly to work there.
More Than Words has a diverse staff of men and women from a wide range of ethnicities, sexual and gender orientations. They believe that this matters deeply in making sure that the work they do with their young people is authentic and organic.
Volunteers can work with the youth on various shifts.
More Than Words has partnerships with the Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Youth Services, Department of Mental Health and Bridge Over Troubled Waters. They receive grants from DCF and DYS to employ young people who are in their custody. Their development department partners with various organizations for grants and fundraising money.