WALTHAM YEEP STUDENTS INSTALLED OVER 3,000 SQ. FT. OF MEADOWS AND SOLD OVER 420 NATIVE PLANTS TO 30 CUSTOMERS!
This experiential, out-of-school-time (spring through summer) environmental enrichment program engages and empowers teens, age 15 – 19, to act positively for the environment and themselves by building a service business where they provide organic landscaping with native plants to the City of Waltham and businesses and homeowners.
When youth are involved in healthy, enjoyable, and rewarding activities they have less time and inclination to get into trouble.
YEEP is a dual-track, active-learning program. Industry professionals and college interns teach youth the principles of ecosystem gardening and how to meadowscape with native plants as well as how to build, market, and launch a service business where they install and maintain native plants for their customers.
Resilient communities are made up of resilient people—people who can survive difficult experiences by calling on reserves of strength and the other members of the community to pull them through.
In summer students are compensated by customers for their planting services. A MS4B staff member and/or college intern will mentor the youth as they deliver their services.
Why this program now?
This innovative program helps to solve two timely challenges. The first is a critical socio-economic challenge—how to help youth develop skills they can use to get jobs and to advance their personal, academic, and career directions. The second is a serious, environmental issue affecting all of society—how to restore vital biodiversity (essential to all life on this planet) and wildlife habitat in our community where development has far outpaced preservation of open space. This program offers students, mentors, funders, and customers a way to feel empowered and hopeful about the environment and the future.
We believe the YEEP presents an opportunity for the formation of productive, forward-thinking collaborations among public and private entities across Waltham and can serve as a valuable model for youth engagement in Waltham and other communities.