Teens find success in door-to-door sales using technology, transparency

Teens of Tomorrow Nebraska is helping local teenagers discover the values of leadership and respect while also making a little cash for themselves.
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 10:21 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Before going back to school, some Omaha teenagers learned lessons about earning money and respect.

“Don’t walk in people’s yards, be nice and polite at the doors,” said Genvieve with Teens of Tomorrow. “Speak up so they can hear you and really tell them about yourself.”

Teens of Tomorrow is a non-profit specializing in door-to-door sales of candy. But they also sell a message.

“Instead of just going and breaking in people’s houses, selling drugs, and taking away people’s hard work, it’s going to teach us to go get a job, own our own company, and be successful,” said Jahcob, another member of Teens of Tomorrow.

No last names were used for their personal privacy, but the teens revealed where the money goes through a QR code that opens a website explaining every detail of the organization.

“I’m usually kind of cautious and I kind of do my research, so it’s easy to see it’s very legit,” said candy customer Ginny McClain. “Everything is on the website and there are contacts if you need them.”

Through 25 years and about 2,500 teenagers, this is the first summer Teens of Tomorrow is using technology for transparency.

“It helps prove that we are legal,” one of the teens said. “That we have all the permits on there. It proves to them we are actually spending money on the things we say we’re going to do. Teens of Tomorrow helps me out with things my family can’t provide.

The money made from candy sales is divided among everyone involved.

The teens and their adult mentors each get 30 percent, while another 30 percent is set aside for expenses like buying candy products and paying for gas. The remaining 10 percent pays bonuses to the teens who can earn up to $400 per week, plus occasional perks.

“It’s something that’s going to keep them out of trouble and give them some opportunities to learn how to work and do positive things with their time,” said another candy buyer, Heidi Bautch. “So, I’m willing to answer the door.”

The QR code and website show potential supporters where candy sales and donated money go, but the teens also tell their own stories of where they plan to be in the future.

“I want to get my CDL, which is a commercial driver’s license,” Jahcob said. “I want to drive a semi-truck and own my own company.”

The president of Teens of Tomorrow tells 6 News that parents must sign a permission release before their child goes door-to-door. The candy sales will continue throughout the year, but they’ll never knock later than 7:30 p.m.