Teens and young adults working on their GED are finding powerful new avenues in GroundED, a regional partnership through the GRuB Farm and Capital Region ESD 113’s GRAVITY program. The partnership empowers students to develop a wide range of personal and community-based skills while continuing to work toward their high school equivalency diploma.
The inaugural GroundED program launched in late March, with 20 youth working at the GRuB Farm through June. Youth have been learning the basics of sustainable farming, communication and conflict resolution skills, and facilitation and teaching methods while they lead elementary school field trips on the farm. GroundED participants have also strengthened their public speaking through community engagement opportunities, including building free gardens for low and no-income residents throughout Thurston County.
A GRAVITY teacher is on site at GRuB, helping students continue GED studies in a classroom setting. Youth are paid for their training time.
GRAVITY stands for GED+ Re-engagement Alternative Vocational Individualized Training for Youth. The principal, Gerry Grubbs, first approached GRuB to explore the partnership because GRuB has a long track record of using the real-life application of food production to create solid and incomparable learning experiences for youth. “Rather than spend time developing a new program, it made more sense to collaborate with a well-respected youth program already in operation,” Grubbs explained.
GRuB (Garden-Raised Bounty) is celebrating 20 years of youth empowerment programming on the GRuB Farm. Since 1999, GRuB has served 400 teens and young adults in the South Puget Sound region, offering paid and accredited employment training and leadership skill development curriculum.
Wade Uyeda, GRuB’s Youth Programs co-manager, believes the GRuB model of working with youth in local high schools will translate with this new crop of students. “The teens and young adults going through GroundED will have the same powerful experience that we’ve been able to offer students in the Olympia, Tumwater, and Eatonville school districts,” Uyeda said.
Students who want to complete their GED, but are not currently enrolled in GRAVITY, can apply for the September 2019 GroundED session.
“We need the community’s help to spread the word, to ensure these youth know about and can access this opportunity, and to support us to ensure these youth are successful in overcoming barriers,” Uyeda said.
For more information or to apply, visit the GRuB website.