Organization skills

Atlanta water boys land kiosk with the help of a local organization

An Atlanta organization, Helping Empower Youth, is helping the city address its growing concerns about teens selling water at busy intersections.

The teenagers, often referred to as “water boys”, can continue to sell water and other snacks, but instead of running through the streets, they can now set up shop at a kiosk. The booth is located downtown on Peachtree Street near a MARTA station.

“We thought it would be a great way to have a safer space for at least some of the young men to sell water or other things they were interested in versus corners and intersections,” said said Kanesha, founder of Helping Empower Youth. “KaCey” Venning told WGCL-TV.

She noted that she and others in the organization are excited to provide a safe option to help teens continue to earn money and learn entrepreneurial skills. According to various reports, booming vendors sometimes raked in hundreds of dollars in water sales and tips in a single day.

“Really, we wanted them to see that they are not just selling water around the corner, that there is a whole world available to them around the sales area, commerce, marketing and who knows, you might find some of that really piques your professional interest in the years to come,” she added.

The organization employs 25 young men and does not sell any brand of water. Instead, they offer their own private label H2O, Hey! Hydrate!

Since the summer of 2020, municipal authorities and the police have been trying to prevent young people from selling water in the streets. In the past, authorities have threatened to arrest teenagers caught in intersections, as well as cite the parents of individuals deemed repeat offenders. Others, like Councilman Antonio Brown, offered to hire the young men.