At-Risk Youth Employment
Legacy GardenWorks, the newest initiative of Legacy Ministries, is a unique youth employment program. It combines a supportive work environment with the chance for at-risk youth to build job skills working in an urban gardening operation. The youth in our program come from at-risk situations, including homelessness, drug and alcohol rehab, and non-traditional high schools. Many have had few experiences of success in their lives, so the chance to work with their hands and see something grow is a profoundly empowering experience.
Here’s what last year’s youth are saying about GardenWorks. . .
“I never thought I’d be into gardening, but the truth is I really like it. I have seen something that was just a seed turn into a carrot or a bean plant or whatever. That is just cool.”
“I now have a lot more confidence to apply for other jobs. Before I would have been too nervous and unconfident about my skills.”
“GardenWorks has been a really good experience for me. I plan to find a job on a farm when I go home so I can work outside with my hands.”
Food for our Neighborhood
The other focus of Legacy GardenWorks is to supply fresh, organic, produce to low-income neighbors. All too many residents who live in poverty rely on processed food found at convenience stores, rather than the fresh fruits and vegetables that could drastically improve their health. Much research has been done on the positive effects of increasing fresh fruits and veggies in the diet, and in fact a Sedgwick County’s Public Health priority is to decrease obesity and diabetes by promoting healthy eating. Legacy GardenWorks offers fresh produce all summer long on a suggested donation basis, so that no one is turned away who wants to eat healthy food. We are out on a corner in the neighborhood every week with the fruits of our labor, including our organically grown, fresh vegetables and value-added items like pesto, homemade bread, applesauce, and apple butter.