Why paychecks were delayed for kids hired to beautify Mosby Court

Posted at 7:48 PM, Aug 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-21 19:48:31-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Some children hired to work in  a summer program in Richmond's Mosby Court were left wondering why they had not been paid.

Parents called reporter Sandra Jones to get answers after some children who painted murals and planted gardens in the public housing community were not compensated for their hard work.

Mural and garden in Mosby Court.

Mural and garden in Mosby Court.

Thirteen-year-old Shaiann Jones said the summer program was her first chance at a real job and that it felt great to be working. However, that gladness turned to frustration when her paycheck did not arrive last Friday.

"When we weren't getting paid, I felt like it was demeaning,” said Shaiann Jones. "I was supposed to do something for my birthday and I have to get my school stuff."

It was a major disappointment for Shaiann and the other kids who signed up for the program. Since the program was over, they worried they might not be paid after the checks were again not available on Monday.


Shaiann and Yaisha Jones

Yaisha Jones, Shaiann's mom, said parents got the run around when they questioned the program's organizer, Arthur Burton, the owner of Kinfolks Community.

"We are the same people that they say don't want to work -- don't want to do nothing," Jone said. "But when we do get out there and prove them wrong, they're not paid for their efforts."

WTVR CBS 6 cameras were rolling as the checks were handed out to the kids.


Reporter Sandra Jones and Arthur Burton.

"We were not able to pick up the funding that was promised to us, so we backed it back a week,” Burton said.

Burton said Kinfolk teaches kids urban agriculture, environmental stewardship and how to take ownership of their communities.

He also said most of the funding comes from private donations, local grants and out-of-pocket donations.

"I stand in the lives of all of these children and their families. Some of these kids I've had for three years,” Burton explained.

Burton said he has been upfront and honest with the parents of the 45 kids enrolled in the summer program, which he said is a way for the kids to learn different skills and build a work ethic instead of resorting to a life of crime.