“It takes a village” Project
"It Takes A Village" is a new social business project from the Youth Employment Program designed to give youth experience working and give them an opportunity to take steps towards stability.
Under the guidance of professional artist volunteers, youth sanded, gessoed and painted each house. Youth worked in small groups in shifts of 3 hours. After each shift, the youth were paid for their time. Supplies were donated by Christine Martell, Barbara Mason, Alice Hill, and Martin Conley. These artists volunteers, as well as Katy Byrtus, made significant contributions of their time, expertise and equipment. Launching this project has truly taken a village of passionate volunteers and supporters, and the results are beautiful! The youth loved the opportunity to create something special and get paid for their work.
The houses are made of wood and range in size from 5-11 inches tall and 2-4 inches deep each. The assembled villages are from 15-30 inches long. In most cases, several youth contributed to each village, so most villages have several youth artists represented. Prices range from $70-$120 depending on the intricacies of the work and number of houses in a village.
We're doing a short run of art pieces created by our youth to see if it can be a viable long term business. This pilot project was underwritten by generous donations, but it is our hope that if the public is excited to purchase these works of art, the program will be self-sustaining.
Skills youth are learning include:
showing up on time
working as a team
creative design and following directions
assembling a finished product
As we start to market and ship the villages, there will be opportunities for more experienced youth to help us with those steps. If the short run is successful, we will look at ways to make it a long-term business, with the hope that we can provide both immediate and long-term employment opportunities for the youth we serve, with a variety of positions depending on commitment and skill level.