The Growing Connections Program (Milwaukee) is built on youth participation in three intersecting and multilevel educational approaches:
- Youth-led gardening education and food production
- Youth leadership development focused on action planning and community leadership
- Youth centered exploration of workforce pathways at the community and individual levels
During the summer months, youth participants engage in gardening and the arts both in their communities and at the program’s hub, the Connections Garden at Kohl Farm. They then apply their skills and leverage their new relationships in their communities. Growing Connections partners with two community organizations: Milwaukee Christian Center and Running Rebels Community Organization, located on the near south and near north sides of Milwaukee respectively. Organizational partners bring deep connections with youth and neighborhood assets in two of Milwaukee’s most challenged neighborhoods. Youth bring their perspectives to developing the Connections Gardens as a community cultural and food production space, and leading neighborhood action projects. Youth work into seasonal, part-time employment opportunities, working with professional mentors to implement program elements including participatory evaluation and teaching other youth.
For more information about Growing Connections, contact Leslie Quevedo, Community Youth Development Educator in Milwaukee County.