By Siobhan Riley
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A Mid-South program is putting at risk teens to work. Refuge Memphis is teaming up with Juvenile Intervention Faith Based Followup or JIFF to keep people on the right path.

Right now, JIFF Works with teens who were in the court system for receiving non-violent crimes. This program is designed to reach them before it’s too late.

It may be hard to tell right now, but by the beginning of next year the building for the program will have a fresh new makeover.

Donnie Wheeler, who’s the president of Refuge Memphis, said at-risk teens who are in the Juvenile Faith Based follow Up Program and people living in poverty will get paid to work inside the thrift and boutique shop.

The Memphis City Council donated $125,000 in grants to fund the job readiness program.

“We’re going to shoe these young mean and women a difference, and what a difference makes, and what they need to look forward to. Not to government assistance – but actually changing lives themselves,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler further states that the teens will also learn hos to operate a business, work in a coffee shop and learn how to prepare for a job interview.

Parts of the new building will also be used as a boxing mentoring program.

According to JIFF, 11,000 youth entered the Memphis and Shelby County Juvenile court system every year.

Parents say they are confident the program will work.

“They just need something to do to basically help them to get on another road. A lot of things that’s going on, they have nothing to do,” said local mother Lakesheya Smith.

Parents will also receive financial and parenting training.

This is a 16-week program that cost $25 a day for two days a week. However, plenty of scholarships are out there if you can’t afford the program.

If you would like to volunteer for the program, click this link refugeMemphis.org. If you would like to be a part of the program or sign someone up, call 901-410-8724.