Snapshots: TEENSHOP, Inc.

March 1, 2001

OBJECTIVE: To help teenage girls become productive and concerned citizens through workshops, field trips, community service projects and college tours.

IN A NUTSHELL: TEENSHOP is a volunteer-run prevention and mentoring program that engages teen girls in educational and life skills development activities that attempt to deter them from risks such as teen pregnancy, school failure and substance abuse. These issues are the subjects of workshop presentations by visiting adult professionals and teenagers with direct experiences with those risks. Membership is for girls 13 to 18 who are not parents and who are enrolled in school full time. Activities are held every two weeks on Saturday mornings (from September to June) for three hours. Field trips and community service projects take place throughout the year. Interactive and experiential workshops include Money Management, Health and Fitness, Social Graces (e.g., writing thank you notes, self-presentation), College and Career, and Conflict Resolution. The program includes a youth leadership council and an alumnae club.

WHERE IT HAPPENS: There are four chapters in Philadelphia and one in Los Angeles. All use donated space. The Los Angeles chapter is in a hospital, and the Philadelphia chapters are in schools, a church and office space donated by a law firm.

WHEN IT BEGAN: TEENSHOP was founded in Philadelphia in June 1985. The Los Angeles chapter opened in 1994.

WHO STARTED IT: Elleanor Jean Hendley, a former school teacher and now the education specialist at KYWY-TV3, the CBS station in Philadelphia. Hendley wanted to share her time, talent and resources to help teenage girls. The Los Angeles chapter was started by Dr. Judy Hunter when she moved from Pennsylvania (where she had been involved with TEENSHOP) to California.

WHO RUNS IT: TEENSHOP is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization with a board of directors chaired by Hendley. Each chapter is managed by five professional working women, volunteering as youth workers, who serve as role models and mentors.

EARLY OBSTACLE: There were no plans for expansion when TEENSHOP was founded, but due to repeated requests, organizers tried to provide services to more girls than they could effectively serve.

HOW THEY OVERCAME IT: A plan was developed that sets strict criteria for expanding program activities and affiliating new chapters. It includes an enrollment limit of 40 teens per chapter and requires five officers to manage each chapter.

COST: While there are no immediate administrative costs (staff is all volunteer and space and supplies are donated), chapters try to raise at least $3,000 per year. The annual operating budget for the entire program, not including in-kind donations, is approximately $15,000. Hendley says the budget varies greatly from year to year because there is no steady source of income.

WHO PAYS: TEENSHOP gets small contributions through its enrollment as a Donor Choice agency of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Private donors occasionally provide funds, as do foundations (such as The Allstate Foundation) and corporations (such as MasterCard International). Teens pay an annual $30 sponsorship fee; they either pay it themselves or are sponsored by a parent, teacher or community member.

WHO ELSE HAS KICKED IN: In-kind donations of pro bono legal services from Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll; office suite donated by the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition; a quarterly newsletter published by Sanibel Press.

YOUTH SERVED: About 150 teens participate annually. More than 700 have been enrolled since the program began. Kids hear about the program through word of mouth, often in church or school.

YOUTH TURN ON: Latanya Goss, a college student and TEENSHOP alumna who is now a volunteer youth worker with her former chapter says, "I would tell girls that if you want to be a leader, this is the program to help you. It is very motivational."

YOUTH TURN OFF: It is difficult to get up early on Saturday mornings, especially for something that seems like an extension of school because it is structured and educational.

WHAT STILL GETS IN THE WAY: TEENSHOP struggles to maintain current programs without consistent and adequate resources. As the program grows, it has become increasingly difficult to continue as an all-volunteer organization. The organization wants to find funds to hire a full-time youth worker with grant writing experience (to ensure TEENSHOP's viability and to expand) to serve as executive director.

CONTACT: Elleanor Jean Hendley, founder and chairperson, TEENSHOP, INC., 1207 Chestnut St., Ste. 314, Philadelphia, PA 19107. (215) 851-1843.
E-mail: teenshopinc@aol.com. www.teenshopinc.org.


"TEENSHOP, Inc." Snapshots. Youth Today, March 2001, p. 12.

©2000 Youth Today. Reprinted with permission from Youth Today. All rights reserved.

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