Being A Club for Every Kid isn’t always just about grade school-aged kids, it includes offering a variety of services for teens. Among the services Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee provides for teens in the community is career development in a variety of forms, including the Learn, Earn & Grow program which operates in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Learn, Earn & Grow began in the summer of 2017 and sought to teach teens career skills while also educating them about urban gardening. Nine members participated this year, granting them a summer job in a program that promotes life readiness. Participants learn to grow and maintain urban community gardens to show they could impact the community in a positive way and help bring life to the community. The program lasts from June until August, where Club teens work three days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and get paid for their efforts.
Learn, Earn & Grow provides teens with great learning opportunities as well. Club members participate in financial literacy courses, take classes with the American Heart Association in its “Healthy for Life Program,” and learn about entrepreneurship within their community, all in addition to the core concepts of urban agriculture on which the program is based. College readiness is also a pillar of the program as well. Students visited colleges such as UWM, MATC, and Waukesha County Technical College to get a holistic view of their options after high school. The members also enjoyed a cooking class at MATC to learn a few recipes so they might better enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor during the program.
Club members Kayla and Lynett are both second year participants of the Learn, Earn & Grow program. While reflecting on their experiences, both agreed Learn, Earn & Grow was a great learning experience and that they had fun being a part of the team. Kayla says the program, “really impacted my life, it taught me key communication skills and professionalism.” Lynett shared a similar opinion, saying, “the program taught me a lot of skills that I didn’t know, like money management, and made me into a more mature person.”
Learn, Earn & Grow marked the first job experiences for both teens, and will serve as great stepping-stones for their burgeoning careers as they begin to contemplate life after high school in the coming years. The nine graduates of the program this year were encouraged to stay in touch with the program’s advisors at both the Clubs and UW-Milwaukee, and to take advantage of unique résumé advice provided by our friends at UW-Milwaukee to better position the teens for success in their future career endeavors.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee strives to help develop active members of the community and hard workers who can set and reach their goals. The Learn, Earn & Grow program is one example of the many opportunities Club teens have to develop skills to aid their future careers, and we’re grateful to UW-Milwaukee for teaming up for this wonderful ongoing initiative!