If you happen to be looking for an organization to support, I would like to suggest looking into Seattle Youth Garden Works. SYGW‘s mission is to provide education and temporary employment to homeless and at-risk youth, ages 14 to 21. (Seattle homeless includes approximately 800 kids.) Their program is based on the production and direct marketing of produce from two gardens one in the University District and the other in The South Park neighborhood.
The kids are taught how to plant, weed, water and harvest produce. When the crops are ready they sell the produce at local farmers markets. This provides a positive connection between the youth and the community. The kids also get a sense of accomplishment by seeing the direct results of their labor.
This is a story by Anna, one of the youth crew members being served:
Hi! I’ve been working for Seattle Youth Garden Works for a year (off and on). At first, I just didn’t get the knack of working. I was always late, absent or didn’t call in. Eventually I quit. It was during the next four and a half months that I was unemployed and homeless again that I realized something. Here I had been saying for a long time that I wanted a place of my own. But I hadn’t been willing to work for it. So, in November I hooked back up with SYGW as a volunteer. Soon with steady attendance I was re-hired again. After that, it was pretty smooth sailing. Margaret and I started talking about my future. I told her that I liked gardening, but I wanted to learn other skills also, like doing office work or organizing. After some time, she offered me an internship.
The promotion to “Youth Business Manager” has made me a lot happier. Now I not only work in the garden, but I’m learning the kind of office skills that will help me get the job I want. It’s amazing how a little hard work got me not only a steady job, but a room I can call my own.
Lifestyle Landscapes, Inc. is the title sponsor for the SYGW Gala this fall. It is on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at the South Lake Union Naval Reserve Building. This is an important source of revenue for them. Check out the website http://www.sygw.org. Please consider giving this organization your support.