An eBay for Charity Story: More Than Words in Boston
By: Francesca Hellebrandt, eBay News Team
Editor’s note: This month, we’re celebrating $1 billion raised through eBay for Charity with the help of our community. As part of this milestone, we partnered with three sellers to create video portraits to spotlight how a single purchase on eBay for Charity can impact charities, their recipients and their local communities. Watch the new series at youtube.com/ebay.
For 23-year-old Mehki Jordan, hope looks a little something like this: a stack of books, friendly coworkers and a chance to plan for college.
Mehki had joined More Than Words about two years ago seeking a change of pace and scenery. Before discovering the Boston-area nonprofit, Mehki had slipped in and out of trouble. He had dropped out of school, was unemployed and spent the majority of his time with the wrong crowd.
After being stabbed in a street altercation and almost losing his arm, Mehki knew he needed to make a change in his life.
“I didn’t want to be a part of [that] anymore,” he said. “I really wanted to change from that point on, because it wasn't only for myself, it was also for my parents. When I was in the hospital, that really hurt them bad to know that I was hurt. And I didn’t ever want my parents to ever feel like that.”
For Mehki, the first step to change direction was to get a job, he said.
More Than Words is a social enterprise that teaches nearly 400 at-risk youth in the Boston area the critical skills needed to become successful in today’s workplace. The organization serves disadvantaged young people, between the ages of 16 and 24, who are court involved, experiencing homelessness and/or in the foster care system.
More Than Words trains them to develop professional work and leadership skills by running a successful $3.75 million bookstore. The organization includes a brick-and-mortar store in Boston’s South End neighborhood and an online eBay bookselling operation in Waltham, Massachusetts, and aims to achieve measurable outcomes in education, work and life.
“When you’re part of More Than Words, a young person or an adult staffer for that matter, you're with More Than Words forever,” said Shaun Newell, chief of social enterprise at More Than Words. “And so something really special about this place is that it becomes a family. It's not just changing the community, it's changing the lives within those communities, too.”
Like Mehki, the program’s youth are given day-to-day jobs on the store floor but also have the added responsibility of a “you job.” Every week, employees are required to set attainable goals for themselves (i.e. studying for the SAT’s and applying for a driver’s license) and work with program mentors to achieve each one.
Once he graduated from the program, Mehki was hired as a business training manager and works with other youth to accomplish their own goals.
“When I see people excelling, it makes me extremely excited,” Mehki said. “It also feeds my drive because a lot of people don't think that they have this in them. By coming to work every day, they are changing their lives.”
Stories like Mehki’s sit at the very heart of the eBay for Charity program. Since 2003, eBay for Charity has empowered consumers to make an impact by enabling them to support their favorite charities and causes when they buy or sell on eBay.
Newell spoke to the direct impact that eBay has had on the business.
“eBay for Charity has made it possible to pay our young people to be participants in this program,” he said. “eBay allows us to take almost 100% of our profits made on the marketplace and put it back into this organization.”
eBay for Charity is celebrating $1 billion raised in support of charities like More Than Words. Every time a community member buys or sells on eBay, it’s an opportunity to support causes that matter the most and to help with their fundraising goals.
Shop with purpose. Shop More Than Words by visiting their online eBay store.