VOLUNTEER INSTRUCTORS NEEDED FOR SWEET POTATO PROJECT’S CURRICULUM:
Under-funded and overcrowded public schools have a difficult time providing youth lessons that focus on the history, legacy and resilience of African Americans. The Sweet Potato Project provides a unique, disciplined and cultural approach to educating disadvantaged youth on the benefits of becoming entrepreneurs in their own communities. “Do-For-Self” is our mantra in motivating a generation of young, urban agriculture pioneers.
In order to reclaim communities, young people must be empowered to take “ownership” of their own lives and neighborhoods. This year, SPP announced its land-ownership initiative. We are partnering with individuals, churches and community organizations to grow sweet potatoes that SPP will purchase in the fall.
SPP encourages students to become innovative, self-sufficient players in today’s ever-expanding global economy. The goal is to help them develop entrepreneurial skills and give them the resources, exposure and motivation to become engaged in community and economic development.
Starting in May, SPP will need of volunteers to plant with our students on partner lots.
We seek instructors and volunteers with academic and “real-life” experiences to help students grasp our FIVE POINT CURRICULUM:
June 13th – June 16th – (Classes officially begin)
In life, it’s important to present one’s self in a way that will garner positive attention and ongoing support. Although at-risk youth have no problem expressing themselves in groups or other openly demonstrative ways, we’ve found that many have trouble articulating their own feelings, desires, aspirations and dreams. The first two weeks of our program focuses on self-awareness, communication and ways to discover individual strengths.
Starting where they are, we seek teachers, spoken word artists, writers, public relations specialists, motivational speakers and others who are able to help students engage, tell their stories, map their dreams and articulate their career goals.
June 20th – June 30th
Our youth are inundated with negative images, messages and not-so-subtle reminders that they and their communities are sub-par and destined for ruin. They navigate neighborhoods filled with lottery, liquor, payday loan and rent-to-own stores without understanding the economics that sustain these entities. SPP works to-flip-the-script by focusing on the positive history and current opportunities in low-income neighborhoods. We stress “community ownership” and their personal responsibility in reversing negative trends. We want to inspire future urban entrepreneurs to bring jobs, businesses and security back to economically-challenged neighborhoods. We seek individuals involved in community activism, cultural and economic development and “change agents” who will inspire students to reclaim and revitalize their neighborhoods.
KNOWING YOUR MONEY
July 4th – July 14th
Financial literacy is an important component of SPP’s curriculum. We seek instructors who can help students better understand the importance of using checking and savings accounts as opposed to relying on quick-cash and/or pay-day lending establishments. We teach students “urban economics” so they can have a better understanding of “supply & demand,” sustainable demographics and how money is earned and spent in their neighborhoods. We seek instructors to help them grasp the importance of saving money for college and/or property acquisition. We want “real world” entrepreneurs and business leaders to speak to the individual and collective power of financial empowerment.
KNOWING THE MARKET:
July 18th – July 28th
Students engage in a series of activities designed to show them the power of product development, marketing strategies, branding, distribution, sales and the economic bottom line. Students learn marketing, culinary skills, food production, sales and distribution of products made from produce, creating their own business plan and how government agencies can impede or help entrepreneurial endeavors. We seek professionals and entrepreneurs involved in food production, packaging and distribution. Additionally, we arrange site visits to food manufacturers, bakeries, restaurants, coffee shops, grocers and locations involved in packaging, selling and/or distributing fresh food and food-based products.
AUG. 1st – AUG. 11th
The last two weeks of the Sweet Potato Project’s summer program focuses on turning lessons into action. Students will submit a business plan for a small enterprise. If funding allows one student will be awarded seed money towards a viable small business enterprise. Students will be charged with creating a new sweet potato-based recipe to add to our current food line. We seek entrepreneurs, bankers and professionals to serve as judges for our small business contest. We also need volunteers to help students prepare for an end-of-session public presentation that showcases what they learned during the summer program.
The Sweet Potato Project’s students are recruited in late-May. Veteran and prospective students are invited to work (no pay) with staff and volunteers planting sweet potatoes on vacant and partner garden lots. Classes officially start (with pay) on June 13, 2016. Typically summer classes start at 9 am and go to 1 pm, Monday through Thursday for 10 weeks ending in mid-August 11, 2016.
Volunteers wishing to conduct classes, presentations or help transport students to businesses and other locations should contact our executive director to schedule your available time. Volunteers can also sign up for our weekly “Alert List,” which will describe the upcoming week’s activities and needs. For example, site visits may require drivers to transport students or we may need classroom assistants for an in-class activity.
“Alerts” will inform volunteers of our classroom and/or operational needs.