Based in Olympia, Washington, the GRuB organization partners with Olympia High School to engage & empower underserved youth. The goal of the program is to create more opportunities for youth as hundreds of students locally, and eventually across the Puget Sound region (and beyond), work toward food justice in their communities as part of their high school experience.
Starting in July of 2011, students struggling in the typical classroom setting were able to join a part-time program to earn core credits while contributing to the local food system. Each student is engaged for one year followed by second year leadership opportunities.
The program utilizes the garden and related curriculum to break the cycles of poverty by showing participants that their gifts and contributions are important. In doing so, graduation rates increase and important life skills are developed. GRuB’s employment and drop-out prevention program engages youth in land and community-based projects while supporting them in completing high school/GED, earning financial aid, & setting long-term goals. They improve the lives of others by growing food for the Food Bank, their families, and for market, and by helping to build free gardens for low-income families.
All activities are based on 4 tenets found in our country’s best youth programs:
- Responsibility – Are there opportunities for youth to take on real-world responsibility?
- Relevance – Is it relevant to the lives of our youth participants and to our community?
- Relationships – Are strong, trusting relationships built between youth & adult mentors?
- Rigor – Is the work rigorous? Will it stretch youths’ capacity for dedication & hard work?