aBOUT MORE THAN WORDS

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. 

More Than Words 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.

 
 

MORE THAN WORDS

 

RISD Advanced Studio
Advisor: Jeffery Katz
Fall 2016

 

More Than Words (MTW) is a simple proposition. Books are donated through various means: book drops around the city, direct pick-up from book donors, library partners,and book drives. The books are collected and sold through various retail channels including MTW’s two shops, and online through eBay and Amazon. But the real reason that the organization exists is to help an underserved youth population.

This is their mission statement: More Than Words is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth who 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.
 

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THE NEEDS

All of the youth at MTW are 16-21 and have compounding risk factors and are in need of an empowering life experience to help them envision and equip themselves for their transition into a successful, meaningful, and self-sufficient adulthood.

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  • 84% have recent or current involvement with the foster care system (Department of Children and Families) 
  • 54% have recent or current court involvement
  • Approximately 80% do not have their GED or H.S. Diploma and are either not pursuing it or struggling with school. All are behind academically with significant patterns of failing grades, absenteeism and lack of engagement in education. 
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MTW is rigorous at collecting data while youth are in the core social enterprise and when they transition to the Graduate Program.  

 

 
 
 
 
  What I am trying to do is re-arrange the exisiting programs and create a new circulation between the two floors which connect the retail store, warehouse, youth development area and office. The space would be a comfortable and unintimidating workplace for adiverse group of youth, and at the same time impart a completely different sense of what is comfortable and unintimidating for the well-heeled neighbors and customers who can support the business.

 

What I am trying to do is re-arrange the exisiting programs and create a new circulation between the two floors which connect the retail store, warehouse, youth development area and office. The space would be a comfortable and unintimidating workplace for adiverse group of youth, and at the same time impart a completely different sense of what is comfortable and unintimidating for the well-heeled neighbors and customers who can support the business.