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New Project Aims To Employ At Risk Teens


There is a stereotype that teenagers like to do reckless and dumb things.  Some research  backs up this notion.  Neurologists have found that teenage brains don’t process risk the same way adults do.

This might be why many teens are drawn to extreme sports… take the X Games for example.

But extreme sports are not usually sanctioned by schools and they require gear, like rock climbing shoes, downhill mountain bikes, and snowboard pants.   

That’s part of the idea behind new proposed project in Rapid City called Thrive.

Thrive plans to not only sell used sports equipment– it’s also aimed at employing at risk youth in the area. Organizers say the store will include outdoor gear, home decor and used furniture.  The store also provides teens the chance to manage all aspects of the businesses – teaching them critical life skills. Thrive’s goal is to employ teens who are,

“Looking maybe, for something else to belong to, somebody who doesn’t have a sports team, or is not in tight at school, they’re kind of wandering around a little bit looking for somewhere to belong.”

That’s Dan Linde, program director for Thrive. He says the idea came to him during a trip to Jackson, Wyoming, right after hearing news of his dad’s cancer diagnosis. Linde wanted to provide a skill building opportunity for young people, and after visiting an alternative sports consignment store, he found his answer.

He says Thrive will sell items with the profits going directly back into the program and the teens that run it.  Right now, Linde says, Thrive is looking for a building to begin its mission.

“I want to be upfront knowing that if you donate goods, it will probably be sold, in the store. The kids will work on it, they’ll sell it but we are going to sell a lot of the items and that money goes right back into the kids, into the program,” says Linde.

Linde says he hopes to teach teens that they have choices when it comes to selecting a job. He says he wants Thrive to be like a second family for those who work there, knowing that their efforts are going to something greater than just a paycheck.

“If they’re not scheduled to work, we want them there, to be a part of it, you know if that room and the store ends up being full of kids then we’re successful I mean we’ve accomplished our mission where they want to be there even though they don’t have to be,” says Linde.

Linde is working with the Rapid City based group Love Inc to get the project up and running. He says Thrive is accepting donations and organizing fundraisers throughout the remainder of the summer to reach a $40,000 goal. Linde says after the goal is met and a lease is signed, teens can begin working on setting up the store.  

Find more information about Thrive and upcoming fundraiser events by visiting its Facebook page.