Some time ago, we heard from Ben, co-founder at Tees At Risk about how his organization helps at-risk teens cope with problems, through their venture, teesatrisk.com
Tees At Risk is a “for-benefit” company that markets t-shirts featuring innovative and thought-provoking designs by current and former teens at risk. A portion of the sale price of each shirt benefits a non-profit that assists youth at risk.
The company was founded in 2010 by Ben Wiener, Richard Kligman and New York based fashion designer Toby Smith. The goal is to provide at-risk youth a positive outlet for their creativity, and to simultaneously benefit charities that focus on helping troubled or disadvantaged youth.
Tees At Risk partners with non-profits that run ‘drop-in’ centres staffed by volunteers, for at-risk youth all over the world. These organizations open their doors to welcome kids that are out late, or wandering the street. Drop-in centres prevent kids from getting into trouble by providing them a secure environment to unleash their creativity. Since art is therapeutic, most centres have drawing or art rooms. This is where Tees At Risk sources its t-shirt artwork from.
Artistic at-risk youth get referred to Tees At Risk through their partner organizations, and submit their art work which gets onto a t-shirt. Each design has a unique, personal story by the designer. Every t-shirt also has a QR code on it, that reveals the story behind the t-shirt.
Contributing to t-shirt design helps at-risk teens develop better self esteem and self confidence. But also, 10% of the sale price of each t-shirt is donated to support the work of non-profits that look after youth at risk including: The National Runaway Switchboard, NY Youth at Risk and the Zula Center. The teen designer gets to choose the non-profit that will be benefit from their t-shirt sales.