Elizabeth Cayton Photography

It’s his first job, handpicked

Green roses are Maliki’s favorite.

A quick online search can tell you what they represent – growth, hope, optimism – and that’s relevant to Maliki’s story. But it’s not why he likes them. He’s a 16-year-old boy, after all.

Green roses are his favorite because they are different. Green is unexpected on a rose, a little understated.

A little like Maliki himself.

Maliki works at Little Shoppe of Flowers, a family-owned business in Hookerton, population 500. It’s his first job, and he is in charge of watering plants and unbatching flower deliveries from all over the world, cutting and preparing stems for arrangements.

Little Shoppe of Flowers is where Maliki learned roses come in colors other than red. It’s where he learned the “rule of three” in floral design and the hazards of Peruvian lilies just after they’re cut.

But it’s so much more. This shop is a place for Maliki to grow, where he can practice life skills like being on time, accepting feedback. It’s where he can be part of a team; where a green rose – and a young man – can be nurtured by people in the business of tending and caring.

What is Vocational Education?

A program to prepare teens for work; we explore career interests, teach employment skills and money management, and place our kids in jobs with partner businesses