You’ve perfected your cocktail list for your holiday party, the tree is trimmed, the menorah lit and the gifts are wrapped! Snow flurries and Christmas lights illuminate the magic in the air. With the holiday season in full swing it’s time for parties, family and friends. It’s a time to be thankful, and most of all, a time to give back. To think of others that are less fortunate than ourselves. With that said, we have great youth focused causes here for you to give back to, lend a hand, make a donation. Do what you got to do, just make it from the heart.
5. 826 Boston
This nonprofit located in Roxbury is dedicated to developing underserviced students ages 6-18 with writing skills. Their services provide one-on-one attention, tutoring, field trips, writing workshops and help for ESL pupils. All of these programs are free to all scholars. They are taking donations for their holiday fundraiser here. If you are looking to give your time, check out their next volunteer orientation is here.
Directions: Take the Orange Line to either Jackson Square station. Head down Centre Street towards Columbus Ave. Take a right on Columbus. A left on Walnut Street and a right on Washington Street. 826 Boston will be on your left.
4. Stand Up For Kids
Located in Worcester, Stand up for Kids aims to end the cycle of youth homelessness. It has a nighttime service with volunteers that walk the streets distributing food, clothing and hygiene products. Stand Up For Kids also has programs to help homeless youth move beyond the streets. These include tutoring and GED services, job hunting services, financial management, study skills, anger management, goal setting and social events. Volunteer orientations are offered on the second Monday every month at 7 p.m. at the Wesley United Methodist Church at 114 Main Street Worcester. For more details regarding volunteer opportunities contact Donna Katsoudas. If you simply want to make a donation head here.
Directions: Take the commuter rail to Worcester. Head down Foster Street. Turn Right on Front Street and another right onto Main Street. The Church will be on your left.
This nonprofit in Boston is focused on suicide prevention. Services include 24/7 Crisis Services, Grief Support and Education and outreach programs. Although services are not just for youth, they provide specialized support for teenagers and college students through the IMHear_ Program and Crisis Text Line. If you are looking to volunteer check them out here. Or make a donation here.
Directions: Take the Green or Red Lines to Park Street. Walk with the traffic down Tremont Street. West Street will be on your left.
Short for The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender youth, Bagly is a youth-led adult-supported organization. It focuses on programs that support and promote the LGBTQ youth community. Bagly aims to create and maintain programs that not only empower these youth but provide them with skills to maintain policies and services for the LGBTQ community. To get involved or donate check them out here.
1. More Than Words
In the good ol’ city of Waltham there is a great program for underserviced youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless or out of school. At More Than Words bookstore and coffee shop the youngsters are in charge! All aspects of what it takes to run this business is in the hands of the eighteen 16-21 year olds that participate in the program.
From processing to organizing the donated books and merchandise to taking inventory and ordering supplies for the full service Starbucks partnered coffee shop, these teenagers and young adults do it all. All while receiving support in navigating their personal lives by participating in mock interviews, workshops, resume building, committing to getting a GED or diploma and receiving assistance to pursue higher education.
More Than Words does not feel like your run-of-the-mill used bookstore. After passing the $1 book rack at the door, you enter into what would be a great mom and pop style shop. They have it all! The adult section is to die for, with categories ranging from fiction to non-fiction, travel to historical, poetry to science, and more. There is a cute children’s section, free wifi is available, a sitting area in the fiction section, chairs and tables by the café, and they also dabble in vinyl, audio books, rare and collectable novels, DVDs, CDs, even video games. They also sell nifty little book and DVD bundles for a steal! It’s a bibliophile’s dream really, with all hardcovers at $4.95 and all paperbacks at $3.95. Keep your eyes peeled for promotions and events that take place at the shop to score even greater deals, like this December is $1 Starbucks regular coffee or Tazo tea any size.
More Than Words encourages its participants to set both short and long term goals. Sebastian (AKA Seabass) gave the tour and told us his short-term goals are to get his permit and license, the first of which he already got. He also loves to weld and wants to pursue an avenue in which he can grow on this skill. Each graduate of MTW goes onto the “Wall of Success” to promote and show the progress and influence an experience at More Than Words has for these youth.
With such great prices on great books you can and will have a field day. The fifteen novels purchased at More Than Words cost a total of $72.52. If these same books had been bought at a bookstore that sells at retail price, the cost would have been well over $100.
Not only will you keep that green lining your own pocket, but you will also be donating to this great cause. And get this– MTW is also environmentally sustainable! Just by purchasing, you’re recycling. Plus all the donated books that do not get sold at their shops are recycled. Does it get any better than this? We think not!
Every dollar spent at the store goes directly back into the program. All major credit cards are accepted. When asked what the biggest way to give back to the MTW was they simply replied with “Shop with us.” So go for a visit to Waltham, grab a few books, sip on a coffee and you’ll be giving back in more ways than one. You’ll walk out with a smile and feeling better knowing where your money is going.
376 Moody Street
Waltham, MA 02453
242 E. Berkeley Street 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02118
Just want to stay cozy in your PJ’s all day? We can’t say we blame you. With MTW, you can also shop online! Browse their account and order from home here!
All book donations can be dropped of at 56 Felton Street, Waltham. Interested in giving your time? Check out their needs and get involved.
Any other great places and programs that you know of to give back at? Comment below on where else to go!