grow, Grow, GROW Orlando!! Growing the Good Life

grow, Grow, GROW Orlando!! Growing the Good Life

How do you use plants to grow teens?

At Grow Orlando, our learning model is simple. All of our young professionals in our program Learn, Earn, Travel, and Grow! (or, L.E.T. Grow!) into a new way of living. but what does that mean? In what ways is our program using plants to establish self-worth, increase their level of professionalism, and obtain new perspective? Here how:

LEARN focuses on the stewardship of creation.  Our Life Skills Through Plant Cultivation course combines the joy of creating life (the plants), the accountability of maintaining that life (grow season), and the understanding of that life’s significance (harvesting the fruits of your labor) in their own lives so the students can Learn to Grow into a new way of living.Grow

EARN – focuses on the skills required to diversify employment opportunities and/or entrepreneurship. Grow Orlando’s Work Study Program offers employment and vocational credit for students in the ESE Department, with our flagship operation located at Jones High School. All of the projects that we have been a part of is centered around neighborhood beautification and sustainable growth for the home owner’s project. Self worth grows, part-time pay provides economic stimulus, and each student’s work maturity skills improves, increasing their levels of professionalism.

TRAVEL – changes the perspective, restructures the mind, and allows our team to appreciate different people and places. This pillar is very important to us because of this, and more-so because almost all of our students have rarely, if ever, traveled anywhere before. If  you have seen the Milky Way, overlooked a mountain pass, or immersed yourself in mother nature, you will understand how a trip like our Otherwise Project will increase our student’s perspective more than months in a classroom would.Grow

GROW! – The results of Learning about themselves and how they grow like plants, Earning dignity and self-worth by obtaining a paycheck, and Traveling to places they have only seen sporadically on other people’s Facebook posts will be that by time they graduate, they will have gained a new perspective on life and how they should lead it.

We invite you to grow with us! Every home we beautify, every donation we receive, and every volunteer hour donated fuels our mission to greater impact – so come on in and let’s grow our relationship into action! Interested in joining our cause, or want to volunteer? Donate Here.

Email us for any projects or jobs you need, volunteer opportunities, or just to say hi and you love what we do (those are my favorite!), and we will be in touch!

Get Action! The Work-Study Mission

Get Action! The Work-Study Mission

Hey Orlando! You know, we’re always preaching get action, so we wanted to give a shout out to the young men in our work-study program who work hard for sustainable lives while beautifying the Orlando environment. The hard work and perseverance they’ve shown this school year, and the use of valuable tools they’ve learned while growing with us, embodies the L.E.T. Grow model in every fashion. Things have not been easy, though. In one work study weekend, we had to finish re-sodding 1,300 sq. ft. of residential lawn in Dr. Phillips, build a beautiful and lasting Nantucket-garden in Winter Garden, and helped with the Winter Garden Community Garden restoration. At the end of each project, we clean up, admire our success, chant our ‘Get Action’ mantra*, and move on to the next one. By the end of the day everyone was exhausted, but each one of us thought, ‘Not bad for a weekend!’

Grow Orlando’s work-study program  exposes students to the joy and dignity of productivity, and gives us great joy to watch our mission unfold before out eyes. Working throughout the week and Saturdays, while laying down our organization’s foundation, has brought new and invigorating experiences that we at Grow Orlando wouldn’t change for the world. The feeling of personal fulfillment and professional development one cultivates through hard work helps our students, and ourselves, Earn (the E in L.E.T. Grow) dignity, professional development, and fiscal responsibility. The feeling of dignity that cultivates in our students is the soil of proper growth.

Do you have a lawn that needs re-sodding?  Do you need a garden installed?  Do you want to help provide jobs for exceptional youths from Orlando’s inner cities? Contact us and schedule a free appointment!

 

*”Get Action; Do Things; Don’t Fritter Away Your Time; Create; Act; Take A Place Wherever You Are And Be Somebody; Get Action.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

Healthy Eating – Uprooting Food Deserts

Healthy Eating – Uprooting Food Deserts

Healthy Eating – Uprooting Food Deserts

Last Saturday, after we finished working at our work study site, I asked a couple of the students if they wanted to stop somewhere to grab something to eat. Knowing that their options had to be weighed, they prudently asked me if I was going to pay for it (otherwise, they would’ve preferred to keep their funds and eat at home). I told them that I would pay for it, and so the search was on for some good food. Unfortunately, from just west of Downtown Orlando, also known as Parramore, to their drop-off site there wasn’t a healthy option in site or mind.healthy eating

Not wanting to veer too far out of route, to save gas, I made a quick decision to stop at a fast-food fried chicken restaurant, whose identity will remain anonymous. As we were staring at the lists of options, I knew that I didn’t want anything on the menu, so I asked the fellas, “Well, what do you want?” They both slowly shook their heads, and decided against purchasing any of their cholesterol-filled options. I have never been prouder!! Driving away, I thought, this was one of the proudest moments I’ve had in my time at Grow Orlando, and our theory is resounding some positive effects.

Tying fiscal responsibility with healthy decisions does lead towards a healthier lifestyle – even in food deserts!! Our healthiest option, unfortunately, was a gas station due to sheer variety, but it was great to see our guys L.E.T. Grow into a new lifestyle. I can’t wait to see what they do next!

Healthy Eating Habits can promote a Healthy Future

Healthy Eating Habits can promote a Healthy Future

Healthy Eating Habits can promote a Healthy Future

One of the great challenges facing our society in the next century will be the allocation of earth’s finite natural resources. How can we extract the healthiest eating habits with the limited resource constraints our communities face?  Will we be able to sustain healthy eating practices for our children? While Grow Orlando’s mission is to use teens to grow plants, we found that our approach could be applicable to this problem.

healthy eatingWhen working in the garden you learn to manage your resources and the simple truth that while the problem can be seen the solution often remains unseen. Promoting this skill at an earlier age allows creativity to flourish among our students. To solve the problems of the future we must teach our youth how to look in places unseen.  After all when one thinks of solving these monumental problems one must remember…

“Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.”
– Walt Disney

Donate Now

 

 

To learn more about us or how you can help grow Orlando send us an email!

 

Fresh Market! Join Wells Fargo in Developing

Fresh Market! Join Wells Fargo in Developing

Grow Orlando is pleased to announce that the Wells Fargo – Waterford Lakes branch has awarded $1,000 in funds to help support our mission!

fresh marketWells Fargo banks offer annual scholarships to local non-profits that are doing exemplary work in the local community, and we are so blessed to be a part of that list! The funds will be used as the foundation of our ‘Otherwise Project’ fundraiser, taking our youth places they otherwise would never have gone. This summer’s trip, we will highlight the importance of knowing what’s in your backyard – so we are going to Yellowstone National Park! We are all really excited, as none of the students have ever ventured that far from home (much less in the wilderness) and will get to experience the full beauty and glory that America’s National Parks have to offer!

Can you imagine never seeing the galactic paintbrush sprayed across the horizon at night? What would your life perspective be if you’ve never been on an airplane before? We at Grow Orlando believe that in order to help grow our at-risk youth, and provide an increased perspective on life, we must take out of their current life experiences and add on to it.

Join us, as we raise $10,000 to take our deserving youths out to places they never have, and never would have, been before! www.groworlando.org/donate

Congratulations Elijah

Congratulations Elijah

grad_postWe’d like to give a big Grow Orlando shout out to Elijah Torres, our program’s first graduate!

One of our young entrepreneurs, Elijah Torres, has completed all of the graduation criteria and received his High School Diploma from Jones High School! Elijah was at crucial junction in his life, and his options weren’t looking good. He was a man with a troubled past when he was allowed to finally join our program, but when he picked up a shovel, he never looked back!

We started this program to help students like Elijah find their passion and direction in life.

This summer, he plans on working towards being a certified Grow Orlando Food Entrepreneur,  and will continue to grow into a happy, healthy and empowered Orlando citizen.

Congratulations Elijah, we are proud of you!