A Successful, Unique, and Timely Program
Meadowscaping for Biodiversity (MS4B, meadowmaking.org)’s successful spring
program Empowering BIPOC Youth to Heal the Planet was a collaboration of MS4B’s Youth Environmental Entrepreneurship Program (YEEP), the Judy K. Record Conservation Fund, the Waltham Black Future Group, and others funders and individuals.
The death of several Black people by White police hit us all very hard. COVID-19 also hit the communities of color much harder than White families. More people of color got sick and died while many more lost their jobs in the service industries that lost their customers.
Empowering BIPOC Youth was a two-part program. In the spring BIPOC and other
teens 15-19 received $13.50/hr. for the opportunity to learn from BIPOC
professionals about starting and running youth programs and a variety of business
operations. Dr. Nubra Floyd, a lecturer at University of Santa Cruz, California,
assisted in organizing the program. Other speakers were Rev. Vernon Walker,
Waseem Givens, Chanthal Harris, and several staff members of Alaska Air Lines.
In the summer, some students left the program while other joined our regular
summer programming–learning about native plants, holding plant sales, designing and installing gardens for a variety of customers.
Disclaimer: We design with native plants — only those non-native plants that arebee- and butterfly-magnets like sedum, catmint, etc., are part of our portfolio.
YEEP is an experiential, summer-time environmental enrichment program designed to empower teens, age 15 – 19, to act positively for the environment and themselves. Teams of high school students, guided by college mentors, will learn about business, biodiversity, environmental justice, and climate change. They will then build a service business where they sell native plants and install native-plant gardens for property owners—residents, businesses, and city — within their community. This year we are offering the program to youth in Belmont, Cambridge, Waltham, Watertown, and Arlington.
To make a more positive impact this year, we added a new component to support participants in their career development. In May and June, students will meet (via ZOOM) with professionals of color who represent a range of careers in environmental science, business, entrepreneurship, and advocacy. Guest speakers shared their experiences in carving their career paths and addressing societal issues while inspiring and mentoring the youth as they explore new career areas and begin to set up their specialty native plant sales and service business.