Program offers high school students service, learning opportunities

Published: June 10th, 2013

Category: Announcements, InsideUF, Top Stories

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Gainesville-area high school students can have a fun and engaging opportunity to make a difference in their local community this summer.

UF Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership and Sustainability is continuing a pilot program that was launched last summer for local students, YELS: Gainesville Summer Service Project.

Students can volunteer with local organizations, earning 100 hours of community service over five weeks. Participants will learn how to think and act innovatively and sustainably about social, environmental and economic issues related to the service they perform.

Kristin Joos, director of the program, said the students will be working with Forage Farm, a local organic, biodynamic farm, as well as with two other organizations committed to sustainability. The students “walk their talk” by offsetting their carbon footprint, composting and partnering with a local restaurant, Tempo Bistro, to provide sustainably sourced lunches each day.

The program will take place on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. from June 24 to July 16.

Last year the pilot had one team of six students to keep the program small and personal for the first year, Joos said. She wants to expand participation to four teams of six students this summer. A feature about last year’s program can be found here.

The application is competitive and requires students to complete an online form, write an essay and submit a letter of recommendation. The cost of the program is $1,250 and includes lunch, snacks and drinks each weekday. Scholarships are available, and selection is based on both merit and need.

Sponsors for the program are the Innovative Sustainability & Social Entrepreneurship Initiative of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of Florida, in partnership with the UF Office of Sustainability, UF Center for Leadership & Service, UF Innovation Academy, Rebuilding Together North Central Florida and Forage Farm at Alachua Conservation Trust’s Prairie Creek Preserve.

For more information and apply, please visit http://ufyoungentrepreneurs.org/gssp or contact Kristin Joos at gssp@ufyoungentrepreneurs.org or 352-273-0355.

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Karilla Dyer

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