My volunteer experience with More Than Words on Sat, February 8, 2020.
About: More Than Words
“More Than Words (MTW) is a job training and youth development program that empowers nearly 350 youth each year to take charge of their lives by taking charge of our $4M bookselling business.
We work with the most vulnerable young adults in Greater Boston: those who are in the foster care system, court-involved, homeless, or out of school. At More Than Words, they earn a paying job, working approximately 20 hours per week in our businesses learning critical customer service, technology, inventory management, and leadership skills. They also work a second paying “YOU” job, attending workshops and site visits and receiving focused support to ensure they persist in school and map plans for their future work, education, and life. Our youth are showing up, giving and receiving feedback, and leading their peers.
This model works because WORK WORKS. After a habit-forming, skill-building 6-12 months in our core program, we continue to support our graduates as they go on to achieve measurable, positive outcomes in education, work, and life.” https://mtwyouth.org/what-we-do/
Why I volunteered to help
Young adults struggling with family problems (the courts and foster care) are issues I really relate to. My family was divided and broken up and the courts and foster care system are part of my family’s legacy. I have gone through a lot, but many others have experienced so much worse than I ever did, so that is why I volunteered just a few hours of my time to help out. I love the business model of this non-profit. Not only are they helping at-risk youth, but they are also helping the environment by recycling books. It is also great to see a local business do well, plus spreading the word and works of literacy.
Here are the opportunity details as listed on the Boston Cares website:
“Volunteers will work alongside the youth (ages 16-20) to sort through donations of books and prescan at the More Than Words warehouse. The books are posted online for sale across the world at the warehouse and available for purchase in the cozy, youth-run bookstore which doubles as an art gallery. The bookstore also plays host to community events such as poetry slams and musical performances.”
My Volunteer Experience
My experience was just as explained by Boston Cares. I sorted books into two bins; one bin for books with barcodes, and another bin for books with no barcodes. The books with barcodes will be sold either online or in the store, and the books with no barcodes will be sold to an organization that will buy these works by the pound. After our volunteer group of eight sorted about 2,000 books, (MTW gets about 10,000 donations a day between the Boston and Waltham locations) we then went to work making sure the books in the store were properly alphabetized and priced. I also got to meet a great bunch of young adults that day. It was a wonderful experience, and one I am sure I will volunteer to do again.
Here is the link so you can shop online: https://mtwyouth.org/shop/
They are always looking for volunteers and donations. Please visit their website, https://mtwyouth.org/get-involved/donate/ to learn more or sign up on bostoncares.com.