A GiveMN Initiative

RaiseMN Campaign Institute

Elpis Enterprises

Elpis Enterprises offers opportunities for youth to build job skills and community relationships


By paul Ramsour, elpis enterprises executive director

Elpis Enterprises is a supportive employment program for youth ages 16-23 who are at risk for homelessness. Our goal is to help youth jump-start their careers through working at one of our social enterprises, providing wood products and promotional screen printing services for others.

Although our mission centers on youth homelessness, Elpis is not about telling sad stories. We exist to recognize the value of people as individuals, and we do not focus on the circumstances they are in.

My team and I are frequently asked, “Why are youth homeless?”  There are many reasons for homelessness—sometimes it is due to a lack of family support, troubles finding a job, or maybe a stable home. We know that to avoid or find a way out of homelessness, a safety net needs to be developed.

The youth we work with are making choices to develop that safety net every day. They want to change the circumstances they find themselves in and create a new support system. However, accomplishing this means they need a solid employment history, good references and personal and professional advocates. Elpis works to provide this through our programming and social enterprises, and demonstrate to these youth that they are capable of accomplishing these goals.

When I arrived at Elpis, I didn’t know how to build anything. Elpis has helped me to gain the skills and experience that has led me to my current position as wood working coordinator. I love to take nothing and turn it into something. I am now mentoring youth who are starting out where I did.
— Shadaria, Elpis Enterprises participant

Escaping homelessness takes more than supplying basic needs. Providing a blanket does not solve the systemic societal problem that creates homelessness. These youth need someone who will take a chance on hiring them without any experience, and an opportunity for them to develop the skills they will need to work their way out of their current circumstances. We focus on work readiness and showing youth a path forward in which they can contribute.

If you would like to learn more about Elpis Enterprises, we’d love for you to visit our website or contact us. Consider buying some of the wood products crafted by our youth in our online store. Browse our t-shirt selection, and consider Elpis Enterprises the next time you are looking for a t-shirt or promotional apparel vendor.

And finally, as part of the RaiseMN program, we’re able to match all donations up to $10,000, and would love your support to help us meet that match! We appreciate every dollar and invest it the youth who we serve. They have so much to offer and contribute, and we want to help give them that opportunity.

Paul Ramsour is the executive director of Elpis Enterprises.