Monthly Archives: September 2019

Brattleboro’s Youth-Led Business Seeks Volunteer Mentors: Experience with design, business, entrepreneurship or sales especially needed

Youth Services is recruiting additional volunteer mentors for its youth-led enterprise, DemoGraphix, a business-to-business screen-printing company in Brattleboro, Vermont.

The employees, ages 12-24, have been instrumental in readying the business to open this month, building a strong team, selecting the name and designing a logo, training on the screen-press, established policies, a pricing structure and a marketing plan, all with the input of adult mentors, according to Emile Kornheiser, Youth Services’ director of Workforce Development.

Employees of DemoGraphix can make and sell their own designs as well as be employed by the company, Kornheiser explained. Launched earlier this year, the company employs young people in every aspect of the business— design, printing, shipping, customer service, marketing and accounting.  “DemoGraphix is dedicated to delivering job skills for these young people and fostering entrepreneurship and community connections,” stated Kornheiser.

 Mentors join a caring, fun team of adults who support the youth both at the screen printing shop and through one-on-one meetings. “The mentors are an integral part of the overall structure which guarantees the success of our outcomes,” said Kornheiser. “Our participants learn how to be a member of a team in a connected, supportive environment, learning from adults who are on the other side of so much of what they’re going through,” Kornheiser explained. 

Youth Services asks for a commitment of four hours per month, for one year, as well as attendance at quarterly trainings. There is no one profile for a successful mentor; excellent mentors can all have different backgrounds and be different ages, confirmed Kornheiser, who suggested scheduling an initial visit or a meeting as a way to determine a good fit before formally applying.  “What all our mentors share in common is an interest in working with young people and a willingness to share their expertise,” Kornheiser said.

A one-year commitment is requested from volunteer mentors; they must be at least 21 years old; provide references and pass a background check.  Kornheiser stressed that DemoGraphix mentors must be dependable and consistent in the minimum commitment: attending two group meetings a month, typically from 4-6 pm on Wednesday afternoons at the Printmakers Co-op space in Brattleboro.

The description for mentors lists as desired qualities being a willing listener, patience and flexibility. Youth Services offers quarterly ongoing trainings for mentors and an optional mentor support group.

To learn more about joining DemoGraphix as a mentor, visit email info@youthservicesinc.org or call (802) 257-0361 x138. For screen printing estimates, email: demographixvt@gmail.com or call 802-275-7871.

View application materials to become a mentor

 

The Reverend Dr. James Kowalski joins Youth Services Board

The Reverend Dr. James A. Kowalski, a retired Episcopal priest who is a long-time second home owner in Townshend, VT, recently joined 13 other community members in serving on Youth Services’ board of directors. Through nineteen programs ranging from restorative justice, to mentoring, transitional living, workforce development and therapeutic case management, the nonprofit agency helps Windham County thrive.

Dr. James A. Kowalski

For the past 15 years, Dr. Kowalski served as Dean of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. Prior to that, he had parishes in Massachusetts and Newtown, Hartford and Darien, Connecticut. During that time, Kowalski helped found a Youth Services in Newtown, CT which focused on positive youth development, adolescent depression and suicide prevention. He was also key in launching the Shepherd’s Center, a teen pregnancy prevention and pre-Head Start childcare facility in Hartford, CT.

With years of experience serving on Boards for agencies focused on low-income housing, supportive housing, hospital oversight and community mental health, Kowalski brings crucial insights and background to the Youth Services board, according to Rachel Selsky, board president.

Selsky said they are fortunate to have his vast experience when they are developing strategic plans for the future of the organization as well as fundraising.

“Jim’s deep understanding of the many challenges facing young people and the homeless will be a tremendous asset to the board,” Selsky predicted.

As an extension of his ministry, Kowalski was a volunteer counselor at Planned Parenthood in Burlington, where he also was a chaplain at UVM and did clinical training at the medical center and its outpatient psychiatric clinic.

Rev. James Kowalski resides in Townshend with his wife, Dr. Anne Brewer, who works part-time at Grace Cottage Hospital. First exposed to Youth Services by the late board member Stan Holt of Townshend, they became donors many years ago, keeping an eye on the organization as their work took them to other locales.

“We’ve always appreciated what Youth Services was accomplishing in this neck of the woods,” said Kowalski. “Now that I’m in Windham County full-time I look forward to supporting the staff in their work and helping the critical mission of Youth Services to be realized, including its outreach to Townshend,” he stated.

To learn how you can get involved with Youth Services or to refer a person for services, visit youthservicesinc.org or call 802-257-0361.

Brattleboro’s Youth-Led Company Opens Its Doors: Screen Printing Orders Sought from Area Businesses and Organizations

DemoGraphix, a youth-led business-to-business screen-printing company in Brattleboro, Vermont, established by Youth Services earlier this year, has opened its doors for sales, after a six-month start-up period.

The employees, ages 12-24, have selected a name, designed a logo, trained on the screen printing equipment and establishing policies and a pricing structure during that time, in addition to being paired with volunteer mentors with professional skills such as design, running a small business, and marketing.

Having completed several successful test runs, DemoGraphix employees are now ready to market their services and line up printing orders for promotional products on fabric or paper for the fall, according to Emilie Kornheiser, Youth Services’ Director of Workforce Development.

“We believe that people in Brattleboro want to be conscious shoppers, and will support a business like DemoGraphix offering a living wage and better life opportunities for its employees,” explained Kornheiser.

While DemoGraphix can print on any fabric medium, the two most popular items so far are t-shirts and tote bags, according to the company website. Prices depend on the quality of the materials, manufacturing practices, and the complexity of the design but generally range $10-25 dollars for T-shirts and $5-15 for totes. The designers are happy to have a conversation with prospective clients and will provide an estimate in three days or less.

Launched earlier this year, DemoGraphix, which employs youth in every aspect of the business — design, printing, shipping, customer service, marketing and accounting — is dedicated to delivering job skills and fostering entrepreneurship and community connections, stated Kornheiser.

Members of DemoGraphix can make and sell their own designs as well as be employed by the company. “Our participants learn how to be a member of a team in a connected, supportive environment, and then move on with the knowledge to benefit their community and their own work lives,” Kornheiser explained. “We expect that these youth will have marketable skills and good job references when they leave the company,” she said.

This Youth Services program operates out of Brattleboro Printmakers on Elliot Street. Youth Services pairs 12-24 year olds with volunteer mentors with professional skills relevant to the business who are also interested in being a part of a young person’s life. According to Kornheiser, a major goal of our youth-led business initiative is for the participants to get more than just a paycheck.

To learn more about getting involved, email: info@ youthservicesinc.org or call (802) 257-0361 x138. To obtain an estimate for print shop orders (T-shirts, bags, bandanas, aprons, or collectible posters) email: demographixvt@gmail.com with a description of the project or call 802-275-7871.