Hey everyone, it’s Malakai, GROW Windham’s Youth Development Facilitator with a quick recap of the Summer!
This year’s Summer cohort was one of our largest yet, with 17 total youth, including our 7 incredible youth staff. Together, over the course of six weeks, newcomers, returning program members, and staff brought their hearts and hands to the soil of the Thread City Family Garden, and worked together to produce healthy food for our local community. All of this was done while also learning about social justice, personal identity, advocacy, and organizing through various activities and icebreakers.
Youth staff took the lead this Summer, planning workshops for other youth to participate in, creating structures and plans for garden workdays, organizing to build youth voices in the community, and working in our pantries, community kitchens, and tabling at events. Watching them lead was the highlight of my Summer as the Youth Coordinator, and to say they achieved everything expected of them and more is an understatement.
After six weeks of weeding, watering, conversation, and team building, our large group went from quiet and awkward, to singing at the top of their lungs in the office- all while dancing like no one was watching. The youth have worked hard this Summer to leave their comfort zones, try new things, and develop new skills, and I am proud of each and every one of them.