Youth & Schools

Growing Hope provides youth & school programming which involves classroom, after-school, and summer educational opportunities for young people throughout the school year and into the summer!

Our youth programs combine hands on gardening education with healthy eating and cooking lessons. During the school year, our Youth and Schools team runs Seed2Plate after-school clubs at Ypsilanti schools and community centers.  During the Summer, we employ Ypsilanti area teens as Teen Mentors. The Teen Mentors develop mentoring, leadership, and job skills. The Teen Mentors work at the Growing Hope urban farm and assist with the garden based nutrition education programs at the Growing Hope Center and community sites.  In addition, Growing Hope hosts youth field trips and volunteer groups at our Growing Hope Center demonstration farm and children’s garden. One of our goals for 2017 is to continue to support local schools to develop their own gardens and to help train and empower these schools to take part in the farm to cafeteria/healthy lunchroom movement.

Seed2Plate After-School & Summer Programs
Growing Hope partners with Ypsilanti schools and community centers to empower young people to make healthy lifestyle choices through gardening, healthy cooking, and eating. We work in after-school settings and in summer camps teaching garden-based nutrition education lessons. These lessons are interactive, hands-on and introduce youth to gardening and cooking concepts. In the 2015-2016 school year we reached 136 youth in our Seed2Plate program!
In 2017, we continue our valuable partnership with EMU Bright Futures to provide “Seed2Plate” programming at Ypsilanti International Elementary School and Perry Early Learning Center. We also partner with Parkridge Community Center and Head Start at Perry Early Learning Center.
YCS Middle Seedlings      IMG_4869     25767796691_2e7c43faed_q
Teen Mentors

The paid Teen Mentor Internship Program provides local Ypsilanti teens with an opportunity to develop mentoring, leadership, and job skills. Teen Mentors work at the Growing Hope urban farm and assist with the garden based nutrition education programs based at the Growing Hope Center an community sites.

What does a Teen Mentor Do?

  • Help young learners in after-school programs and summer camps.
  • Learn how to grow and cook healthy food.
  • Work on the Growing Hope Center farm and gardens.
  • Help customers sample healthy food at our Downtown Ypsilanti Farmer’s Market.
  • Be a mentor and example to teen and youth volunteers at Growing Hope.
  • Earn $9.00/hr

Eligibility – To be a Growing Hope Teen Mentor, you must:

  • Be able to work June-October
  • Be between the ages of 15-18 as of June 13, 2017
  • Have or obtain a work permit
  • Secure your own transportation to and from work (rides, bus, walk, bike)
  • Be able to work 5 hours a week during the school year and 15-20 hours a week during the Summer
  • Be willing to work with other teens and youth
  • Have permission from your parent/guardian
  • Enjoy working outside!

How to apply:

  • Get an application by emailing 
  • Scan and email your application to
  • Mail or hand deliver to Growing Hope Center at 922 W. Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti

We will be accepting applications for Teen Mentors 2017 starting Monday, April 3rd!


Teens May 2016 - 2 Here is a photo of one of our Teen Mentors preparing a delicious salad after harvesting lettuce, beets, carrots, edible flowers, and herbs from our Growing Hope farm!

Teens May 2016


Youth Field Trips
During the Spring, Summer, and Fall, school and youth groups visit Growing Hope Center’s urban farm. Youth are encouraged to explore in the youth garden and have the opportunity to plant their own seeds. This is an exciting opportunity for both youth and adults to taste all of the fresh produce on the farm and learn about where their food comes from! It is also an opportunity to be outside and appreciate nature.
For people interested in visiting the Growing Hope farm for a field trip, please contact
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School Gardens

Growing Hope  plays an active role in helping establish and support gardens in Ypsilanti area schools with the help of active staff, principals, and community members.  By working collaboratively with staff and administrators, we believe that we can encourage and support cafeterias to provide and promote local produce from area farms and gardens. Throughout 2016 and 2017, we are working closely with Perry Early Learning Center to support their school garden and healthy lunchroom efforts.

Perry May 2016 Perry Early Learning Center students and Growing Hope staff helping till the soil at the Perry Garden on Ypsilanti Pride Day in 2016!

Perry garden - 6:14:16 Perry Early Learning Center students/farmers helping to plant squash, pumpkins, beans, and tomatoes!

Health and Wellness in Ypsilanti Schools

Growing Hope sits on the Ypsilanti Coordinated School Health Team, a coalition of teachers, parents, faculty, school administrators, and nutrition educators whose mission is to promote and implement the district’s Wellness Policy. The Policy guides everyone in the district to make healthy lifestyle choices through eating, physical activity and mental health.

Find out more about the Coordinated School Health Team’s Wellness Policy

The Michigan Nutrition Network supports much of Growing Hope’s youth programming.



June 24, 2017
  • Farmers Market Volunteering
    June 24, 2017 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
    Ypsilanti Farmers Market Depot Town, 400-698 Rice St, Ypsilanti, MI 48198, USA
    See more details

  • Summer Solstice Wine Tasting
    June 24, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Everyday Wines, 410 N 4th Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA
    See more details

  • Summer Solstice Wine Tasting
    June 24, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Everyday Wines, 410 N 4th Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA
    See more details

  • Wine Tasting
    June 24, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

    See more details

June 27, 2017
  • Farmers Market Volunteering
    June 27, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace, 16 S Washington St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197, USA
    See more details

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