A group of Indianapolis churches are putting teenagers to work to keep them out of trouble. In the process, they are cleaning up the streets and earning a few bucks.
Teenagers get $25, breakfast and lunch for picking up trash. Double-digit teen unemployment is one of the reasons blamed for rising violence and crime among inner city youth.
Along with money and meals, kids get boot camp like lessons in getting along with co-workers, following rules and pleasing the bosses, most of whom are ministers.
"I think one of the big things our children need is training, with respect to how to live," said Pastor James Jackson, Fervent Prayer Church. He believes the program is saving lives. "They are working and they are with us and they are not getting into trouble."
The Clean for Green program started out with only enough money to put only 25 teenagers to work for half a day. Organizers were overwhelmed with parents trying to sign their kids up. Churches and other contributors stepped up with more money.
Now there are a hundred teens on the job and hopefully out of trouble.
To learn more about the program:
Clean For Green Community Alliance of the Far Eastside 317- 890-3288