Integrity Delivered founder Theo Devine spent over a decade in Baltimore City schools as a teacher and administrator, but he still wanted a chance to guide local youth after leaving the educational community.
That’s why he partnered with Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner program to create his company. This program helps entrepreneurs build their own companies to help deliver packages for Amazon by offering technology, package delivery volume and other operational support.
Devine founded Integrity Delivered in May of 2019 and has used his partnership to give back to Baltimore. Despite having no logistics experience, Devine has grown Integrity Delivered to over 70 delivery vans and more than 145 employees.
Nearly one-third of his employees are former students.
“It’s empowering,” the Perry Hall resident said. “I’m at a place where passion meets purpose. The thing I enjoyed most as a classroom teacher was my anticipatory set. Before we got to the lesson, we had to set the tone for learning that day. I get a chance to do that every day with my drivers.”
Devine started working for Baltimore City schools as a special ed teacher in August of 2000 before eventually becoming an administrator. He worked with many children who had behavioral issues, but realized that they were simply not given the proper guidance to stay on the right track.
“Children are just children,” Devine said. “What was missing was structure and support.”
This inspired him to create “integrity centers,” which were essentially support programs designed to mentor students and keep them out of trouble.
Devine said many students would get punished by being sent outside to the hallway, but this isolation didn’t change negative behavior. The program set out to address bad behavior and instill integrity so that students avoided future incidents.
“We spent a lot of time helping students process how to hold themselves accountable and take ownership of their own behavior so that when no one was around they could catch themselves,” he said.
Devine stopped working for schools in 2013, but he couldn’t stop committing his time to mentoring youth.
He partnered with a friend of his who owned a company that focused on interacting with youth to launch specialized support programs for students in Baltimore City schools, leading to increased attendance and fewer suspensions among the youth.
“I just missed it,” Devine said. “I missed dealing with those young folks. We all have our gifts, and my talent is understanding that demographic. I’m not trying to be their friend, but be someone consistent in their lives.”
Following this success, he began doing contract work as a consultant for Baltimore City schools, but he knew there was more he could be doing. He just needed the opportunity.
That chance came when he learned about Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner program from a news report and found an avenue to start his company. The company started the program in 2018 as one solution for “last mile” delivery. The businesses have Prime-branded vans, but are owned by entrepreneurs like Devine.
“It really was a blessing because I didn’t think I had a shot at getting it,” Devine said. “I was hopeful, but I didn’t think I could be a partner with Amazon.”
He looked at this program as a chance to employ people that might otherwise be overlooked.
“For a lot of people from Baltimore City, they’re coming out of different backgrounds,” Devine said. “Some of them didn’t have jobs because people wouldn’t believe in them enough to give them an opportunity. Now, they get a chance to work with a major brand, so it’s empowering. I’m seeing a lot of growth in their personal lives. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life.”
With the holiday season approaching, Devine said he’s looking to further grow and train staff in preparation for increased delivery volume. But providing opportunities for local youth is a year-round priority for him.
“If we can give these young folks an opportunity to come out and make a decent wage, it’s going to take them off the streets and from making poor decisions,” he said. “The more that you surround them with positivity and opportunity, it should have an impact on the community as a whole.”-30-