The above was shared by Aviva, a high school student who is part of Roots Rising, an agriculture-based program of the Alchemy Initiative. Roots Rising pays teens to work on farms, in community gardens, and in local food pantries, but it’s not just a job. Berkshire United Way partners with organizations like the Alchemy Initiative to give young people the opportunity to explore careers and develop the work readiness skills they need.
|Teens plant vegetables on a local farm through Roots Rising, a work readiness program that focuses on giving youth the tools they need to successfully enter the workforce.|
Experiences like these are often enhanced by a mentor or positive role model who can support the young person in their challenges and aid in their growth. Through programs like Greenagers, another work readiness program supported by Berkshire United Way, young people not only gain crucial work experience, but are supported by mentors in the form of program staff, peer leaders, and local community members.
Donovan worked with Greenagers for four seasons and used that experience to secure a job working with Race Mountain Tree Services while enrolling in evening classes at Berkshire Community College. The staff at Greenagers counseled Donovan through the financial aid process and continue to support him as he progresses through his professional and educational life.
Through programs like Greenagers and Roots Rising, young people can explore careers in related fields and secure employment in the Berkshires, just like Donovan. Others are given employability skills that can be applied to any line of work. The key ingredients to helping ensure our youth successfully transition to higher education and/or the workforce are opportunities for meaningful work and positive role models to help along the way.
If you’re interested in becoming one of these positive role models, please reach out to me for a list of opportunities. As they say, it takes a village!
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Kat Toomey, Coordinator of Positive Youth Development
firstname.lastname@example.org 413.442.6948 x15