Ecajima’s and Linda’s great work with Tree Trust exemplifies how the Youth Conservation Corps program helps youth create lasting, positive changes in their communities and in their own lives.
This summer, the program served nearly 900 at risk, special needs and low-income youth, all from the Twin Cities metro area. Open to youth ages 14 to 21, the program offers training and jobs to those who would otherwise have trouble finding work in a difficult economy.
Working from June to August, Youth Conservation Corps crews completed a total of 47 projects in local parks, nature areas and community spaces throughout the Twin Cities. At the community garden at the corner of 37th Avenue and University Avenue in Minneapolis, Ecajima, Linda and their co-workers installed timber edgers to prevent erosion and installed cement flower boxes, 17 garden beds, and several compost bins.
The youth also completed “TeamTech” lessons, a computer-based program that focuses on resume-writing and money management, and enables participants to earn high school credits while working for Tree Trust. In addition to practical job skills, these youth learned skills critical to future work success - timeliness, appropriate workplace behavior, communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.
The picnic, which celebrated the accomplishments of Youth Conservation Corps participants in Minneapolis, was held at the chalet at the Theodore Wirth Golf Course. Approximately 35 people attended, including program participants, their families, and Tree Trust staff and board members, as well as Tammy Dickinson, Director of the Minneapolis STEP UP youth job program, and Don Willeke, co-founder of Tree Trust and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. Ecajima and Linda were among the 50 youth to receive the Certificate of Commendation this summer.