With art as its vehicle, HeARTworks, a Workforce Development Program, provides a collaborative space for vulnerable youth,  ages 14-24, to experience a structured work environment while building job readiness and life skills. Participants produce marketable art to sell at Art with a Heart’s social enterprise and retail store, HeARTwares, and are paid a daily stipend contingent upon attendance and timeliness. Young people learn to think creatively about their personal goals and future plans as each session offers them a sense of belonging and accomplishment. Throughout the Program, participants benefit by learning how to comply with the rules and procedures of a workplace, engaging in a program with concrete expectations and structure, working in a retail store, and meeting and talking to the public in a meaningful and appropriate manner.

Participant responses:

“It is a great program to wake up to every day!”

“I enjoyed the program because something I created could be useful to someone while I earned money for my hard work. I wouldn’t change the program at all because it’s positive and taught me to be more mature and prepared for a real job.”

“The program helped me to break out of my shell and I was becoming a better person each day of the program.”

“This program always ends up changing my life in multiple ways, the people here are amazing and I have nothing to complain about…I felt as though it was a privilege to be here.”