Two years ago, my daughter Maya decided to come into the world 4 weeks early. For most people, I’m sure this wouldn’t be that much of a big deal: a beautiful nursery would be set up, the freezer would be stocked with tasty meals for the first few weeks, and the infant seat would be ready and waiting in the car. For me and my husband, not so much! My husband had to leave the hospital the day after the birth to buy a car seat and we panic bought everything else we needed on Amazon. Not the best start.

So now we are getting ready for baby #2 and I’m determined not to be quite so unprepared. Of course, this time round, we have the gear we need; the challenge now is making room for two little people in our apartment. I’m on a mission to declutter.

As much as I love them, we definitely don’t need to keep all our books. But I can’t just throw them out; I want to know that they’re going to someone who’ll enjoy or dislike them as much as I did. And wouldn’t it be wonderful, if I could also donate them to an organization that is having a positive impact in our community. Enter More than Words.

More than Words (MTW) is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers young people aged 16-24 that have been in foster care, court-involved, homeless or out of school to forge a successful path through life. Through managing the online & retail bookstores in Boston and Waltham, the young people in the MTW program gain professional business training, while also learning critical life skills such as setting up a bank account, building a resume and navigating potential education and employment opportunities. Once they graduate, MTW continues to support the young people for 2 years to ensure they remain on track for positive outcomes.

Two years after graduating from the MTW program, 83% of the young people have obtained their GED or diploma and 83% of graduates are productive and currently engaged in work and/or school.

I recently visited the South End Warehouse Bookstore at 242 East Berkeley Street, 2nd Floor (open Tuesday-Friday 10:30am-6:00pm and Saturday-Sunday 10:30am-4:00pm) to donate some books. They’ve created a really great space with sofas surrounded by homey, well-organized book shelves. There were so many books that I wanted to read on display that I had to hold myself back from undoing all my decluttering efforts (I did succumb to a few purchases though). There are also lots of children’s books available if, like me, you would prefer to buy second hand than new.

You’ll also find the MTW Mobile Bookstore at community events and farmers markets throughout Massachusetts. Or if you prefer to shop online? Check out the MTW online bookstore.

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