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Chicago Master Gardener

A blog for Chicago Master Gardeners providing information on volunteer opportunities, training, workshops and resources.

Volunteer with Woodlawn Youth Solutions

Posted by Ron Wolford -

Master Gardeners,

This is more information about the project that Master Gardener Dorothy Pytel spoke about at the monthly meeting. Dorothy is looking for assistance during the week to work directly with the teen clients. However, she said that she could use some help on weekends also.

Please contact Dorothy directly to volunteer.

The Woodlawn Youth Solutions summer project is an attempt to equip at-risk urban youth with resources and skills to solve real life social problems. This youth job training program will focus on community building in the low-income community of Woodlawn.

The project is a collaborative effort between a church (Christ Way M.B. Church) and a local community garden (Brick Yard Garden) located on the same block as well as a non-profit (architreasures) that links communities to professional artists and designers.

Teen participants will use the mediums and principles of art, design, horticulture and landscaping to transform large concrete plant containers that have been neglected for years into living pieces of artwork radiating with vibrant colors, scents, textures, sounds and living organisms. By the end of the summer these concrete containers will be completely transformed and will become a new, beautiful and visible community asset.

The opportunity to participate in this unique project will help these young adults make and implement planning decisions about their community as well as to see a purpose in education and consider new career options in the future. There will be a heavy focus on using state of the art technology, especially computer skills demanded by the 21st Century.

For most of the youth, this project will be an opportunity to engage in activities from which they are often excluded in society due to their socio-economic status. By providing a successful example of how to integrate educational goals into beautification efforts, this project will hopefully stimulate community interest in transforming other unused public space into community and school gardens as well as parks.

More significantly, the project will not only build something physical that enhances public space but will also build social connections between people who come together to work on this project. In this manner, this community building activity has the potential to improve the quality of life of all of the people living in Woodlawn.

For more information contact:

Dorothy Pytel

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