A social services nonprofit that serves youths launched an online shop through which the products teens make in its Employment Training Program can be purchased.
Kentwood-based Wedgwood Christian Services said Wednesday that it launched an online store that will sell some of the most popular handcrafted products made in Wedgwood’s Employment Training Program (ETP), including charcuterie boards, birdhouses, pillows, masks, candles and more.
Wedgwood’s ETP is an optional program for teens receiving treatment and care in Wedgwood’s residential program. Youths who call Wedgwood home often have experienced intense trauma such as abuse and neglect and are navigating mental, emotional and behavioral health challenges. Part of Wedgwood’s holistic treatment approach is preparing kids for life after Wedgwood, giving them the tools to gain a sense of independence. Being hired through Wedgwood’s ETP allows teens to learn life and job skills and build confidence.
“Wedgwood’s Employment Training Program works to transform the lives of at-risk youth by teaching job skills that will prepare them for their future,” said Jackie Brewster, program manager for Wedgwood’s ETP. “Through this program, we foster an environment where young people gain not only hands-on experience but confidence and independence so they can feel prepared as they enter the working world.”
To participate in Wedgwood’s ETP, teens must apply, obtain references from therapists and other staff members, and go through an interview process. They are coached along the way, building their confidence in navigating the hiring process. Wedgwood’s ETP staff guides the teens as they learn time management and punctuality, working as a team, receiving constructive criticism and leadership skills. Once hired, teens work on a variety of projects, including lawn care, car detailing, woodworking and upholstery, resulting in items that are available for community members to purchase.
All proceeds from Wedgwood’s ETP Etsy shop go back into the program, which is 100% donor-funded.
“Wedgwood’s Employment Training Program is a vital part of our person-centered approach,” said Dan Gowdy, president and CEO of Wedgwood. “Giving kids the skills and confidence they need to succeed, especially in the workforce, opens them up to a future brimming with hope and possibilities. We are excited about Wedgwood’s ETP expansion to include an Etsy shop because it is important to us that kids feel equipped to fulfill their potential, and we can teach them these skills through the various handcrafted products and services Wedgwood’s ETP provides.”
Founded 1960, Wedgwood Christian Services works with youth, adults and families dealing with issues such as sex trafficking, abuse, substance abuse, developmental delays and school expulsions.
Wedgwood offers residential care, counseling services and community programs.