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Katherine Keys receives award from Sunrise Family Resource CenterKatherine 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.