Baking cookies helps empower kids and reduce teen violence - KMOV.com

Baking cookies helps empower kids and reduce teen violence

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Teenagers like Darius Franklin and his cousin Tremmel Wilson are the manpower behind Angel Baked Cookies.

"Awesome to be an angel," said Franklin.

The after-school program gives high school students the hands on experience needed to run a business.

"As the oldest brother, I have the most responsibility. I have to show them the rights and the wrongs," said Franklin.

It also reinforces what he tries to teach his four younger brothers and sisters.

"It gives them safety. It gives them structure. It gives them mentoring. It gives them tutoring," said Executive Director Gary Meier. 

In 2013, the organization was honored by the F.B.I. for empowering high school students and reducing teen violence.

Program Director Kathleen Meyers said, "We’re trying to get people into the real world in a safe way and getting them the skills they'll need to excel there."

Teens see the after-school program as a haven.

"I think this is a good place for kids to come and work at to be able to stay off the streets," said Wilson.

"The more violent crime happens between 3:30 and 6:30 among young people in St. Louis than any other time," said Meier.   "I don't know where some of these young people would be if it weren't for something like an Angel Baked Cookie for them to plug into."

Franklin believes the program is an important tool in youth development.

"These types of programs help you find out who you really are. Not only that, they try to find out where you want to go."

Without Angel Baked Cookies, he isn't sure he would have plans for college.

"They taught me that I could get through college with no student loans...all I have to do is make sure I put my mind to it and make a couple scholarships, get a couple grants, put forth my best effort and I'll be in college in no time."

Right now the organization bakes about two thousand cookies a week. 

It has the capacity to turn out twice that amount.

Meier hopes more companies place cookie orders.

"That will allow us to hire more kids."

He sees it as an investment in the future of St. Louis. 

"I would love for all kids who want that opportunity to have it in the city of St. Louis,  It makes a huge impact."

This month a generous donor has pledged to match donations made to Angel Baked Cookies, up to $20,000. 

The donation matching ends October 31st.

If you'd like to donate, apply for work or place an order with Angel Baked Cookies, click here.

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