Teens With a Purpose plants seeds of love, inspiration, community and family. TWP starts the first community garden at the Vivian C. Mason Teen Center with a salad garden where youth grew tomatoes, basil, green peppers, zucchini, eggplant, watermelon and onions. Teens started the garden with several mentors including a Visual Artist, a Master Gardner, a builder and a Norfolk Police Officer. The Teen gardeners rejoiced and played instruments and danced as they planted the seeds in small planters later moved to a transformed parking island garden.
The program brought together teens and community members. While promoting healthy eating this garden project also planted a different seed. Growing their own food inspired a mind-shift in these budding urban gardeners. Teens transformed from mere consumers to producers! These young people began exploring the roll of producers who are responsible for and capable of sustaining life, caring for the earth and providing food for themselves and for others. This process opened the door to entrepreneurship. They built the garden from start to finish in every aspect. It was lots of hard work and labor, but the results were well worth it! At the beginning of each day, teens were given the opportunity to work in the community garden at the Vivian C Mason Teen Center. Alternating between planting, watering, and weeding, sessions occur amid gardening time and personal growth time. Campers met in small groups to discuss and or journal on HOW’S IT GROWING where the focus is on the things in their lives that they want to; plant (add), water (develop) or weed (take out) in their lives.
Youth have been documenting the process. Photos are posted via social media sites such as Twiter, Facebook and Instagram using hashtags #iamgreen and #twpgarden. The teens have taken video footage and the video is now available on YouTube.com/TeensWithaPurpose.
The TWP Garden sessions are held every Wednesday evening and continue all year-long as part of Teens With a Purpose program. The teens just recently planted Collard Greens for the winter harvest.
Special thanks to: Tess Amoruso, Jonathan Ramirez, Deb Lassiter, Master Gardner; Officer Ali Williams, City of Norfolk Police and Raymond Copeland, of the Boys & Girls Club.