One of the most exciting aspects of working in the field of youth development is running across some really innovative ideas on how to help at-risk youth start their adult lives on solid footing. More than Words bookstore—employing, advising, and training teenagers in foster care—is one such venture. It began as an on-line store in 2004, but has since opened up a brick-and-mortar storefront in Waltham, MA, complete with a Starbucks café. What began as Teen LEEP (Leadership, Employment, and Enrichment Program), has since expanded into a transition program to help youth succeed in meaningful jobs and college following a six- to twelve-month period at MTW. During their time at MTW, youth not only devote twenty to thirty hours to their business job, but also must put time into what their personal advisors call their “YOU job.” This is the personal development component that is considered integral to their success.


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