Planting and harvesting urban gardens is just one of the activities that 33 high school students will be involved in for about five weeks this summer. The students are 10th graders from Flint, Beecher, and Westwood Heights who are involved with the Summer of Service (SOS) program. The SOS program is sponsored by the Committed to Excellence and Opportunity (CEO) program in the Office of Educational Opportunity Initiatives, and AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps).
Besides the gardening, the program participants will also be involved in mentoring and tutoring younger students who range in age from 8-13. The goal of the SOS program is to instill responsibility and leadership while creating a more attractive, livable, and viable community.
There is a reward for participation. The program will begin June 20 and run until July 29. A student who successfully completes the program receives a $300 stipend.
"We believe that when our hope is deferred it creates a propensity of violence in our communities within our school systems, and advances the blight of surroundings, thus contributing to an overall erosion of growth within our youth," said Tawana Parks, Program Manager.
Students and their parents are meeting with CEO and AmeriCorps NCCC staff to begin preparing for their participation in the SOS program on June 15. For the length of the program, SOS participants will live in University of Michigan-Flint housing.
A team of eight from AmeriCorps NCCC will be in Flint to assist the high school students.