Sunrise Project connects Youth to Good Food, Community and Environment through Summer of Service

Youth help preschool children at Children's Learning Center cut veggies and make basil pesto.

Youth help preschool children at Children's Learning Center cut veggies and make basil pesto.

Written in partnership with Luna Stephens, Sunrise Project's Youth Journalist Intern.

Last week, Sunrise Project hosted youth for a Summer of Service project and gave them a chance to learn that Sunrise does much more than just Summer of Service. 

“I thought it [Sunrise Project] was just volunteering and you volunteer different places, but they have other programs” said Katie Balwin-Faling. 

Throughout the week, youth got to work with kids at Children’s Learning Center, a site that participates in Sunrise Project’s Healthy Sprouts Farm to Preschool program. As well, youth spent time at the Sunrise site (1501 Learnard, former Sunrise Garden Center), the Lawrence Community Orchard (located at 830 Garfield) - a project of their program Lawrence Fruit Tree Project and finally, a local community garden - the Garden Incubator in North Lawrence at John Taylor Park. 

Youth did a range of activities throughout the week! They cooked and gardened with preschoolers, made bee houses for the orchard, learned about access to food through a grocery store tour and painted signs for a community garden. 

Many really enjoyed getting to work hands-on with the young children at Children’s Learning Center while helping them make basil pesto and work in the center’s gardens. 

“It’s really fun and it feels like you’re actually making an impact in their lives” Madison Kuhle said. 

The youth seemed very impressed with Sunrise Project and how it operates.

“[Emily and Melissa] are really driven and they really obviously know what they’re doing,” Zoe Wohlford said. 

“I didn’t expect to feel so close to the people that are in Sunrise Project,” said Ethan Caroll,”it is almost like a kind of family.” 

This week got youth excited about Sunrise Project’s mission to connect people of all ages and backgrounds to good food, community and environment to build a socially just community. When Sunrise Project moves into their site at the former Sunrise Garden Center,  there will be even more opportunities to get engage youth in a range of service and learning opportunities.

In the words of Ethan, “I foresee that they’ll become a very prosperous thing, yeah I think the future looks pretty good for Sunrise Project!”