Jul 6, 2020

Underserved Youth in the Time of COVID 19

Intergenerational Farming
Intergenerational Farming

This has been an unprescedented time for all of us and in addition to the disproportionate impact of COVID 19 on underserved populations, the youth may be the least equipped to handle the isolation and ramifications of this pandemic. 

At Village Exchange Center we recognize these inequities and have decided to launch the VIllage Farms at Stanley Marketplace and our Village Summer Camps.  This is a wellness social enterprise that will serve VEC’s mission by bridging community silos between the various socioeconomic communities in Northwest Aurora and Northeast Denver. We do this through growing food, cooking, eating, and celebrating our diversity of cultural, culinary, and agricultural practices. 

We believe food has the power to transcend all cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic differences and bring us together. This project stems directly from the community-identified need to create economic opportunities in the agricultural field while also providing food access. 

In just two months we have built out 16, fifty foot farm beds and a pumpkin patch and Monday are launching our Village Summer Camps. This camp will run for 4 weeks throughout July and is an effort to create equity for our youth by providing free access to the camps in a COVID 19 conscious outdoor environment. We provide extensive farming and sports programs and free lunch from 9am to 2pm. 

Please consider sponsoring this intergenerational social enterprise and our youth through the following opportunities:  

            Community Gardens Sponsorship

    • Raised Beds ($7,000 each) – branding rights on the North and South sides of the beds (50 ft long).
    • Modular training and event facilities ($30,000)
    • Hydroponic farming containers ($65,000 each)

    Summer Camp Program Sponsorship

    • Sponsor an APS ACTION Zone Camper ($350/week)
    • Program materials for educational activities and camper safety (contact us for a complete wish list)

    Vocational Apprenticeship Sponsorship

    • Employment opportunities in agriculture or culinary industry for apprentices
    • 1 month of training for a farmer apprentice ($1000)

Thank you for following this project and being an important part of our community! 

Guardian Fox Living on our Farm
Guardian Fox Living on our Farm

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Mar 9, 2020

Village Youth Club

The Village Youth Club got off to a great start in 2020!



Program Manager, Chinelo Tyler has been working with the Village Youth Club's youth and volunteers to create an exciting fall program. We have been operating under the theme of "It takes a village". We recognize the importance of community and how that positively impacts the everyday lives of children. Our efforts have been centered around providing resources for academic assistance, leadership training/design thinking, developing skills, emotional support, and having FUN!

The youth continue to meet on Monday through Thursdays from 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM.In this report VEC would like to highlight 3 events in particular.

The first is our Holiday Bike Giveaway. Students at the center were gifted bikes by the Village Exchange Center for their academic achievements and participation in Village Youth Club programming. This was made possible through a partnership with Shorter Community A.M.E. Church. The bikes are currently being utilized by the students for transportation, as well as, health and wellness programming.


In addition, VEC is excited to share that recently students have completed programming with the Tri-County Health Department. Students engaged in a presentation centered around food access. They came up with ideas and long term solutions for food disparities that exist in the surrounding community.


Finally, our students are currently engaged in a design thinking program with the Denver Art Museum. In an effort to make the youth portion of their museum more inclusive of activities children would enjoy and find innovative, Denver Art Museum has been meeting with the Village Youth Club for the past few months at least once a month. The students have designed possible programming and art projects for the Denver Art Museum to implement.

-Village Youth Club

Nov 26, 2019

The Village Youth Club's Busy Fall

Practicing
Practicing

The Village Youth Club got off to a great start in Fall 2019.

Program Manager, Chinelo Tyler, was hired. He has been working with the Village Youth Club's youth and volunteers to create an exciting fall program. This fall we have been operating under the theme of "It takes a village". We recognize the importance of community and how that positively impacts the everyday lives of children. Our efforts have been centered around providing resources for academic assistance, leadership training/design thinking, developing skills, emotional support, and having FUN!

The youth continue to meet on Monday through Thursdays from 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM. 

Academic assistance is provided to youth on a daily basis. This consists of checking to see if the youth have any homework to be completed and offering the necessary help to do so.  In addition, members of The Village Youth Club complete worksheets, activities, projects, or presentations in a wide range of subjects each day they arrive to the center. Our youth have completed assignments in mathematics, reading, writing, public speaking, art, and science. The goal of our homework assistance program is to help improve the Village Youth's grades and ability to understand certain subjects they may be struggling with.

The leadership training/design thinking portion of our program teaches the Village Youth skills to become impactful leaders. The Village Youth have established their own executive board to give recommendations and help plan some of their own events/initiatives. Thus far the board has determined norms for the after school program in order to create a safe space for everyone. They have met with Chinelo to help inspire changes with timing and transportation to make the program more accessible for their peers. In, addition they are currently developing, marketing, and strategizing a youth-oriented event in the month of December at VEC for their friends.

Skills development has been a favorite amidst the youth this fall. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the youth have been participating in activities that help develop certain skills. They have received training in culinary arts, photography, woodshop, crafting jewelry, and much more. 

To the best of our ability, we hope to provide some type of emotional support for the Village Youth. Each day we have community check-ins. We all come together, sit in a circle, and share the low point, as well as, a high point in our days. As we share our different experiences we offer advice and support to one another. 

Finally, the youth program has been a place for young people to let loose and have fun! This fall we have had pizza parties, scavenger hunts, played team sports/games, and had a very exciting Halloween Party!    

It takes a village!

Cooking Up a Storm
Cooking Up a Storm

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