Teenage workers unpaid for nearly two months

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Parents of nearly two dozen teenagers say their kids were not paid for the work they put in for a Richmond nonprofit over the summer. A viewer called with questions; 8News took action and got answers.

Kinfolks Community is supposed to help inner-city teenagers make money through cleanup, home repairs and community gardens, but for nearly two months their hard work has gone unpaid.

“My daughter has been working for Kinfolks community gardens all over the city this summer,” said Y’Asia Jones, mother of a 13 year old. “Not only her, but about 25 kids that work along with her. They were supposed to be paid every two weeks but it was put off over and over again.”

The teenagers got their last paycheck in early July. Kinfolks Community founder Art Burton told 8 News there had not been enough money to pay them. He blames the problem on the nonprofit’s fiscal agent.

“Our fiscal agent hadn’t signed our contract,” said Burton. “Because of that, we have not been paid.”

Burton called the missing money a stipend for community service, not a paycheck. Jones and other parents say their children were counting on $5 per hour for their work in community gardens and elsewhere around Mosby Court.

“That’s not right,” said Jones. “The program was supposed to teach our kids how to be responsible and a productive member of society.”

Aimed at keeping at-risk teenagers out of trouble, some believe the money could be the difference between joining a gang and taking a higher path. Kinfolks is funded by private donations and government grants. The organization reportedly has an annual budget of $300,000. The stipend paid to young workers are supposed to come out around $6,000 per month.

Burton says he will pay the teenagers for July and August by the 21st of the month. 8 News is following this story closely to see if that happens.

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