The Issue: Few Opportunities for Underserved Youth
Underserved youth can have difficulty breaking into the job market or getting into college. Disadvantages such as homelessness, trouble with the juvenile-justice system, and learning English as a second language often prevent the achievement of these other goals. But one opportunity can break that cycle.
By working on a farm, youth can learn job skills, gain professional references, and see that they can succeed. The paycheck also helps them support themselves or pay for housing for their families.
The Campaign: On-the-Farm Job Training and Education
If this Grassroots campaign raises $250, then Seattle Tilth can sponsor two youths for one month in the Seattle Youth Garden Works program (SYGW), thanks to matching donations up to $1,500 by an anonymous donor. Each additional $10 raised will go toward funding another youth in the program. SYGW trains underserved youth aged 16–21 in life- and job-skills through farm-to-market employment. The youths work on Seattle Tilth’s farm growing vegetables and selling produce at the University Farmers' Market on Saturday. Each 10-week session concludes with an opportunity to work for three more seasons and move to an apprenticeship program.
In addition to farm work, youths learn about environmental issues such as organic agriculture and nutrition, as well as job skills such as writing resumes and communicating effectively. The program also partners participants with social services to improve their living conditions and help propel them toward college or vocational training.
All donations will be matched up to $1,500 total by an anonymous donor. To celebrate the launch of Groupon Grassroots, Groupon will also provide a $1,000 kickoff grant to this campaign.
Seattle Tilth cultivates a healthy urban environment by teaching people about growing food organically, conserving natural resources, greening their lawns, and supporting local food systems. Adult classes expound on organic gardening, food preservation, and urban livestock, whereas youth programs tour organic gardens, demonstrate how to grow plants, and inspire young palates with taste tests of fresh vegetables.
Seattle Tilth also engages local residents in food production with its community kitchens and Seattle Youth Garden Works (SYGW) program. At the community kitchen, people collaborate by cooking, cleaning, and sharing a meal together. SYGW empowers underserved youth, some of whom face homelessness, with an opportunity to work on a farm and sell produce as a way to gain valuable job and social skills.