31 Jan Growing Teens for Life
Whites Residential and Family Services was founded in 1850 by a Quaker businessman named Josiah White. Josiah had a vision of redirecting, rebuilding, and restoring the lives of children and families. A vision that is still alive and well today by providing residential and foster care services from the Wabash campus.
The social services organization started a program in 2017 that would empower students with knowledge and skills that could be carried with them after graduation and into employment. The program known as Growing Teens for Life, is an entrepreneurial initiative that utilizes the talents of five Master Gardeners to equip young adults with the skills needed for employment.
The program pairs teens with the Master Gardener to learn all about the plants and how to grow them properly in a greenhouse. Those plants are then placed in a storefront where students must attempt to sell the plants they have raised and provide good customer service in the process.
Aaron Carmichael, Vice president of development, reached out to the Community Foundation of Grant County, Indiana to obtain funds that would support the prosperity of the program.
“Partnerships with Community Foundations across the state are vital to our mission and the success of those we serve.” –Aaron Carmichael
Whites Residential shares the same vision with the Community Foundation, which is to make the community better by supporting the people in it. The program has the potential to empower these young adults to find and retain employment, and to reduce the chances of continued court involvement.
The Community Foundation gifted Whites Residential $1,000 in grants through two separate funds, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Fund and the Anthony and Dolores Bove Fund to repair a broken germination table. The table is essential in teaching the students about plant growth cycles and helps the program stay qualified for STEM credit and funding.
Once the germination table was installed, 254 youth were affected. The program gives adolescents that may have made mistakes in the past a chance to change by returning to their community with resumes, work skills, and a mentor that helps reduce the need for further court involvement.