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Background Image: A happy elderly man pealing back the husk on a corn cob to reveal the fresh kernels.

Youth Learn Healthy Habits Through Community Garden Program

For the elementary and middle schoolers in the Healthy Youth Program at Seashore Family Literacy in Waldport, fresh produce and nutritious cooking are quickly becoming a part of their everyday healthy habits.

The 10-week program, which receives grant funding from Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital and Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, gives kids a positive place to spend time during the summer where they learn to plant and care for their own food in Seashore’s 17,000-square-foot JOY Garden. From harvesting produce in the garden to learning about nutrition and cooking skills, the program takes a well-rounded approach to helping kids learn about living a healthy lifestyle.

“Living a healthy lifestyle should be our most important task in life,” said Seashore Family Literacy Founder and Director Senitila McKinley. “It is our responsibility to show that to our children. The whole process is healthy not only for the children, but for the adults and families as well.”

The program also features Fresh Fridays, where the kids prepare and cook produce from the garden to share with the community for tasting and purchase. Fresh Fridays are a great way for local families to get access to nutritious lunches and local produce who might otherwise not have had access to it, and for the students to share what they have been learning in the program.

Background image: Seashore Joy Garden

In 2017, Seashore Family Literacy:

  • Offered a 10-week summer camp that served average of 25 students daily, with a total of 32 students enrolled
  • Facilitated 20 garden lesson plans
  • Hosted 8 “Fresh Fridays” cookout events in the gardens with attendance of 40 community members
Background image: Seashore Joy Garden

Other Partners in Supporting Programs and Services for Better Networks:

  • Jackson Street Youth Services
  • Vina Moses
  • Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services
  • FISH of Albany and Lebanon
  • Lebanon Basic Services