Katherine Keys is the recipient of this year’s Community Award from The Sunrise Family Resource Center for her work with area youth through the Youth Ag Project.
A partnership between The Tutorial Center, the VT Department of Labor and UVM Extension, YAP Work & Learn employs youth ages 16-21 who are at risk of dropping out of school in a summer program in which youth raise vegetables that are then given to Meals on Wheels or sold to the hospital or through the Walloomsac Farmers Market. Begun 8 years ago by Keys, YAP clearly provides much more than a job.
As Keys explains, “I try to help the participants feel better about themselves; to feel they’re really special; to instill team building, self-confidence and coping skills.”
Youth are given increased responsibilities in running the program with some returning a second year as team leaders. Keys also manages the Famers Market, a resource providing locally grown, nutritious foods to families in our community.