Non-Profit Program Encourages Teens, Improves Neighborhood - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Non-Profit Program Encourages Teens, Improves Neighborhood

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by Emily Luxen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A program designed to provide guidance and support for teenage girls is making a big impact in one South Nashville neighborhood.

Harvest Hands is a non-profit organization that coordinates a variety of mentor and after school programs for neighborhood kids.  However, the program that allows teen girls to make soap is really taking off.

A group of girls ages 13 to 18 meet twice a week at the Harvest Hands office on Humphreys Street to make soap from scratch. 

They are paid for their work, and make each bar with the help of a Harvest Hands staff member, who is also there to support and encourage them.

"We want to mentor them and be there for support in their lives," said Harvest Hands Executive Director Courtney Hicks. "We hope to be friends they can turn to when they are going through a rough time."

The girls, who participate in the "WOW! Soap" business, said they look forward to their unique after school jobs, and enjoy the camaraderie as well.

"I enjoy being around the people here because they are like my second family," said Marcella Martinez.  "Everyone here really cares."

Hicks said the soap business is a simple concept that has really caught on.  She hopes girls leave with job skills, and some extra self confidence.

"I never dreamed a program that started with one girl would grow into this," said Hicks. "It's been great, and we're so excited we can employ so many teenagers in the neighborhood."

Word of the special soaps is spreading.  Now all varieties can be purchased at the Harvest Hands store at 424 Humphreys Street. 

The store is open Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m.  Each bar of soap costs $5.  All the money from sales help pay the students for their work, and support the program.


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