Imagine a future world where teens really have it tough: Though they would like to have a job over the summer to make some money and get some experience there are literally no jobs to be be found. During the school year it’s even more impossible–even fast-food restaurants and supermarket bagging positions are taken by older adult employees; no one wants to take a chance on a teenager. With no work outside of school they have no practical skills or experience in handling things like banking, debit cards, planning, public speaking, or goal completion. Though computers are used extensively in all these areas the teens’ time is spent only on social media and video games. If they are ‘lucky’ they compete against each other in “best (most expensive) footwear” competitions that foster jealousy and low self-esteem, and teach little about real life.
In this same future world, teens (and most everyone) don’t eat very well either. Available foods are generally high starch, high sugar, and heavily processed. Vegetables are a rare species only found in fried potato form or a tomato sauce variation. Salad? Salad is cardboard-tasting lettuce with bleached carrot slivers and who would eat that? Sad as these foods are, even sadder is the fact that not one of the teens even know how to prepare them. Vegetables–and food in general–show up in a greasy bag from a fast food store or in colorful cardboard from the supermarket— microwave ready.
Wait a minute, is this the Future or is this the Present?
For teens living in the poor neighborhoods around The Fruitful Field, this is a grim Presentand it is one that needs to change:
Grow City: Farm and Table paid internship for Youth at The Fruitful Field–from Fall 2015 to Spring 2016–
is the first of its kind in South Florida!
Grow City is based on a simple premise: Urban garden-farming is an extremely good way to grow all kinds of skills. Because it is both labor intensive and has measurable results–vegetables and fruit– it is a perfect match for High School youth to attain First Job skills. They develop entrepreneurial skills, self-esteem and experience as workers.
The added benefits are experiencing good nutrition, developing financial literacy and cooking skills, and learning an appreciation for nature.
Recruitment begins September 2015; by October, the Grow City Farm and Table Youth Internship Program will employ 4-6 local high school youth. Formal lessons, manual farm labor, and an entrepreneurial project are included. Youth are encouraged to understand and participate in the charitable outreach led by The Fruitful Field in its disadvantaged neighborhood and in Broward County.
The Grow City Interns will:
- Help us grow more outstanding vegetables and fruit for a variety of people .
- Expand our Community Outreach and Education
- Make sure we are equipping the the next generation in creative and practical ways.
This sounds Amazing! How can I help?
Like all big positive changes it doesn’t come cheap or easy.
We need your help in two big ways–financial investment and volunteer involvement!
Financial Investment: Season One of Grow City requires an estimated $14,000. This covers wages for a small group of youth, paid staff hours and top notch curriculum and supplies. Thanks to a few generous investors, we’ve already received $10,000 towards Season One.
Let’s get to the full $14,000 so that together we can start changing the future for local teenagers. Donate on our website thefruitfulfield.org, just click on the donate button. For the rest of the month of July all website donations will go towards the Grow City Program! Your investment will change a teenager’s future.
Volunteer Involvement: Come work shoulder to shoulder with these teens, or give a talk about your profession or small business. These mentoring moments are crucial! Email me, firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a great idea or need more information.
Be part of creating an alternate future–one where high school students have economic possibilities, practical skills, leadership qualities, solid nutritional background and true stature in their communities!