STEM grant helps to keep the garden growing

Messenger file photo by Dedra Cordle
Ta’Shaun McGowan, a Green Teen employee at the Highland Youth Garden, helps Gianna Morris cut a lemon during the garden’s Midsummer Festival last summer. The garden received a grant from Battelle that will allow them to once again offer the Green Teen program.

Highland Youth Garden (HYG) will be awarded $75,000 to build science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills in Hilltop students through out-of-classroom learning.

This will be the third year that HYG has earned funding for their Green Teens and Garden Club programs under the Battelle STEM Grant Program.

Thanks to this funding, HYG will offer a fourth summer of its Green Teen paid internship program with 15 teens over 9 weeks. The program will be designed to foster leadership skills, create positive work habits, and engage teens in education related to gardening know-how, customer service, nutrition and cooking. Select students from past summers will return to mentor new Green Teens. Additionally, at least 30 individual children grades K-6 will participate in weekly garden clubs throughout out the year. Students will strengthen their STEM, language and social skills through gardening, nature exploration and the arts.

This is the ninth year for Battelle’s competitive awards, and the $500,000 to fund new or expanded learning programs in central Ohio brings the program’s total investment to more than $4.8 million.

“We’re proud to support these community programs that extend STEM learning beyond the traditional classroom,” said Lou Von Thaer, president and CEO of Battelle. “These innovative opportunities can help unleash creativity and build the skills that will be useful to students in the future, and it’s the kind of work our scientists and engineers do every day.”

Shelly Casto, executive director of Highland Youth Garden, celebrates the role that Battelle has played in strengthening the organization’s mission to grow minds, grow food and grow community in partnership with Hilltop neighbors.

“Battelle has been an essential partner in helping Highland Youth Garden strengthen as an organization and build impact in our under-resourced and high promise neighborhood. It’s essential that all children and young people have the opportunity to develop and grow as learners, following their curiosity as they build skills to contribute to society. With all the problems our world faces, we need all hands on deck to solve our most pressing challenges.”

About Battelle

Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries.

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