St. Louis is dotted with hundreds of corner convenience stores, but one in Tower Grove East has a uniquely ambitious plan to change a food desert into an oasis for its area youth. The Juice Box is the fruitful dream of owner Shawn McKie, a community –owned enter- prise combining a safe haven for local teens with healthy living alternatives and educa- tion.

McKie, formerly employed for the nutritional corporation GNC and a vegan, decided to get involved in community advocacy after his mother suffered a stroke. After opening The Juice Box in Augusta Georgia, selling protein bars and supplements, McKie brought his talents to South St. Louis.

Located at the corner of Arsenal and Minne- sota, The JuiceBox has provided healthy snacks, exercise, and artistic outlets for kids since its creation in 2009. McKie’s efforts- were recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama in May of 2010, and has garnered several awards.

This agency has been doing a great deal to help support area teens. It provides a safe haven and alternative from gangs where teenagers can learn computer skills, how to create a resume, and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and community garden. There’s also lots of fun going on, from freemartial arts classes to twice-monthly open mike nights.

The Juice Box, however, needs the help of the commu- nity inorder to grow and help our youth realize their pos- sibilities. Donations of books, art supplies, computers,or even your time as a handyman to complete the juice bar or a mentor to teens would be a great help.

For more information email Mr. McKie at shawn@juiceboxI3c.com or call314-398-2443, or simply stop by Tues-Sat 9am-7pm to get involved to say hello!

By:  Eric Carlson