Over the last several months there has been lots of chatter in the South End about rising commercial rents and the imminent arrival of retail chains. Long known for its small business charm, the South End is now grappling with the question that many popular neighborhoods have: who do we want to be as a community?
A few weeks ago, an article appeared in the Boston Globe that gave some insight into hour our community is responding to these questions. The article shared how a local nonprofit bookstore, More Than Words, will have the opportunity to stay and grow in our community. More Than Words will develop a two-floor hub of social enterprise in the space previously occupied by the Medieval Manor. That means that here in the South End, some of our most marginalized young people will run a business with the real responsibility, high-expectations, and support from caring adults that will help them take charge of their lives.
The small, locally-owned businesses of the South End heard this plan of action and wanted to get involved too.
As a business community in the South End, eleven small businesses (listed below) are committed to supporting this growing organization by helping raise awareness, funds, and by holding a South End-wide book drive to help fill their shelves.
For all of June, you can shop specific items at many of these stores in the South End and a portion of proceeds will go back to More Than Words. Additionally, all the store fronts are working as book drop locations – so go through those book shelves and purge! The sale of these books provides the working revenue for More Than Words. You can also donate directly to More Than Words by following this link.
This is a South End-wide movement to support this community initiative – and we can’t do it without YOU!
Flock: Book Drop Location
Follain: Book Drop Location
Formaggio Kitchen South End: Book Drop Location
Hudson: Book Drop Location
Lekker: Book Drop Location
M Flynn: 10% of Tribloom Collections sales; Book Drop Location
Olives & Grace: Book Drop Location Recycle Studio: A portion of proceeds from their summer sale; Book Drop Location
Uniform: Book Drop Location
The Urban Grape: 10% of Urban Community wine sales; Book Drop Location
The Urban Hound: 1% of all daycare sales; Book Drop Location
About More Than Words:
More Than Words empowers youth ages 16-21 that are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business. What began as a pile of books on the side of the road in 2004, MTW has been committed to a relentless focus on its mission, and a profound belief in the young people they serve. After taking the bold step in 2011 to replicate and open its Warehouse Bookstore in the South End – MTW has doubled the number of youth they serve annually and grown its businesses to generate over $1M in earned revenue. At MTW youth work paid jobs approximately 20 hours/week managing both online and retail bookstores and are integrated into all aspects of the business. Youth also work a second equally important “YOU” job – which consists of deliberate transition planning and case management to ensure they have life essentials in place and move on to meaningful jobs and higher education.
And More Than Words work really does work. 90% of More Than Words youth and graduates have or are on track to achieve their high school diploma or equivalency. Further, MTW graduates get up every day and work to move their lives forward: 75% spend at least 30 hours per week productively engaged in work and/or school. MTW has shown 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 and create concrete action plans for their lives.