The Elpis Story
Out of a desire to help young people and their community recognize the value of youth, the Minneapolis Jaycees Charitable Foundation channeled their resources toward youth development programs. During a Foundation after-school program called Youth Networks, there was an opportunity to sponsor a booth at a local community festival. When brainstorming ideas about what the youth group could sell, the idea came up to make something by hand. Several dozen bird feeder kits were cut and assembled by the group and taken to the festival to sell. They sold all the bird feeders and were asked to make more. Several years later and over 10,000 products sold, the program has a life of it's own called Elpis Enterprises. Elpis is Greek for "Hope". This program demonstrates to youth that given the opportunity, they can accomplish great things. The program now offers opportunities for other youth groups to have the same success. The Elpis facility is available for youth group workshops.
Elpis uses only recycled and reclaimed wood in the products made at the Elpis shop. Working with several fence companies, Elpis reuses old cedar fencing to manufacture a line of bird feeders and nesting boxes that are used in business education and experiential programs. All the birdfeeder kits are cut in at the Elpis shop by adult staff and are assembled by youth in the program.
Screen printing Programs
Elpis operates a full service screen printing business as part of the business education program. Elpis is a "water-based" print shop that offers services to the corporate community as well as the youth group community. Experiential workshops allow youth to design their own t-shirts for their program and come in and assist in the printing process.
Elpis Enterprises offers experiential workshops to over 1200 youth a year. Education is best achieved through concrete experiences that are reflected upon and applied toward real situations in their lives with the goal of the continuation of the learning exploration. Elpis offers many youth their first opportunity to build something with their hands and see their creation come to life on shirts worn by their peers as part of their own youth program.