Left to right: Program Coordinator Becky Moore, Program Assistant Vanessa Aiken, Peer Leader Travis Brookings, Program Assistants Charlie Bartel, Zach Rogers, Jade McAdam, and James Murray, and Program Coordinator Rachel Muia.

Concrete HS Student Assistants Learn Essential Skills

Article by: Becky Moore and Niko Alexander

This summer, we were able to hire 6 Concrete High School employees to work with us as Program Assistants. The job runs for 8 weeks, 20 hours a week.This is a job development program and the students primarily help run the small farm on the school campus. We are growing all sorts of flowers and produce, both to donate to the school cafeteria for summer school lunches, as well as to sell at the Concrete Saturday Market. Employees learn how to plant, maintain, and harvest produce and flowers in both the field farm and the school greenhouse. They are also learning about every other aspect of running a small farm, acquiring skills with tools, installing edging, learning to mow and weed-eat, watering, and working on numerous daily projects requiring a variety of different skills.

Right: Travis and James work on an edging project around the perimeter of our field garden.

Vanessa and Jade pose with dough as they learn how to make bread for appetizers for guests to the Open House in August.

In addition, the students are provided with job skills workshops such as how to write a resume, cover letter, job application, conflict management, interviewing, and decision making. They are developing critical thinking skills, problem-solving, leadership, and confidence in themselves. We are building things, cooking, planning an Open House for the end of summer, and attending the Saturday Market on a weekly basis.

This is our second summer running this program, and we rehired an employee from last summer, Travis Brookings, as a Peer Leader for this year. It has been wonderful to watch him step into a leadership role more using the skills he gained last summer to apply forward to his peers. We can already see huge improvements in capability and confidence in not only him but all of our employees, just a few weeks into this program! We are so proud of everything they have accomplished and how much they have grown so far, and are looking forward to what else we will all learn together as the summer progresses!

Employees show off their bouquet harvest for the Concrete Saturday Market.