Magic Markers is a compensated work-readiness initiative, focusing on teens in East Chattanooga. In Magic Marker sessions, participants develop essential workforce skills and a deeper understanding of civic engagement through community-oriented projects. Past projects include murals and small animations beautifying Glass Street, short videos generated from teens’ experiences, and developing entrepreneurial skills through the designing, creating, and marketing of wallets sold at the teens’ Wallets for Change pop-up market. Though each project varies, integral features of the Magic Markers program include art-making, collaboration, cultivating critical problem solving skills, fostering civic pride, and building grassroots community efforts.
Participants are compensated with a stipend that reflects their individual work ethic, performance, and job quality. To date, Magic Markers has completed 11 week long sessions and paid over $30,000 to teens in East Chattanooga.