The Scoop! – Summer 2018
Just like that another summer has flown by and kids are heading back to school. Find out about all the happenings at RCH this summer below!
Junior Green Youth Farm Open House Educates and Empowers
The Roberti Community House held its annual open house on August 1, with over 100 people in attendance, celebrating the culmination of the Junior Green Youth Farm (JGYF) student summer program. Attendees included Lisa May, Alderman 7th Ward, Lincolnshire Garden Club, Waukegan Fire Department, Waukegan and North Chicago Schools, Waukegan Park District, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners, Love INC of Lake County, Holy Family Food Pantry and many more.
The program’s design, objectives and curriculum are modeled from and supported by the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest Green Youth program, whereby youth in underserved communities are trained as stewards of our land and with a working knowledge of organic farming. In it’s sixth year of operation, the Roberti Community House program teaches middle school students how to grow and cook organic crops and the critical importance of eating nutrient dense food, especially in their home environment of a food desert. Over the course of eight weeks, four field trips were made to various local farms and agricultural sites to extend learning to aquaponics, hydroponics and local food sourcing. Students have also become ambassadors for composting in an effort to decrease the amount of waste mummified in landfills.
The ultimate success of JGYF was hearing these well educated, passionate students present at the Open House what they learned this summer with great eye contact and strong handshakes. Furthermore, four of the graduates from the Roberti Community House program plan to apply for jobs next summer in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest Youth Farm at the Greenbelt Preserve. With the foundation and knowledge of JGYF, we can’t imagine any other high school students being more qualified.
RCH Launches New Program: Food Rescue and Mobilization
In March of 2018, we initiated a new program entitled ‘Food Rescue and Mobilization’. The purpose of FRM is to locate, pickup/receive, and distribute fresh produce to our community either as is, in the form of meals, or through education. Between March and August of this year, this program has rescued over 4000 pounds of fresh produce. This produce supports our biggest program, the Roberti Culinary Pathway in their efforts to cook and prepare 40-50 meals per day. Additionally, produce gets distributed amongst our regular programming at RCH and shared with neighborhood communities. Produce has been sourced, donated/picked up from Fight2Feed, Food Share Food, Growing Healthy People, Liberty Prairie Foundation, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and other independent farmers.
The FRM program will continue to grow as we locate more sources of produce and are able to provide even more fresh produce to the food desert our community house is located in.
Friendships and Fresh Produce Cultivated in Community Garden
One of our community kids, Angel working with Master Gardener Mary to harvest and weed one of the garden beds.
Gardening is easily one of the highlights of our summer, and our Community Garden is one of the reasons why. An average of 30 people attended our Community Garden every Tuesday during the summer to work and volunteer together on the garden. The Community Garden saw 330 people throughout its 12 weeks of programming. Highlights of the summer include handing out 225 pounds of fresh produce to our neighbors over the summer with the help of Liberty Prairie Foundation, Fight2Feed with Imperfect Produce, and Growing Healthy People donations, offering tastings of fruits/veggies that had never been tried by some before, and working together in the garden and growing friendships alongside vegetables.
Roberti Culinary Pathway Student Update: Where are they now?
Clayton Burt, a graduate of our second RCP class
“I loved going to class every day of the 9 week program at the Roberti Culinary Pathway School in Waukegan. We learned the most important things needed to work in a kitchen such as knife skills, how to use the equipment and how to work as part of a team. Chef Clay was an amazing instructor, who was very kind, patient and helpful. My favorite cooking lesson was Asian stir fry! I am currently working at White Oak Gourmet which is a meal delivery service. The job is more closely related to my culinary career goals and I am making more money than I was at my previous job! I learned new skills and had a great experience. RCP is an amazing program!”
An RCP Update:
13 of 15 graduates now have a job in the culinary industry.
6000+ meals have been prepared, cooked and served by RCP students and given to underserved families and organizations since January of 2018.
Patrick, graduate of our third RCP class, also taught our community how to make ice cream and everyone enjoyed eating and bringing it home to their families.
Applications are being accepted for our upcoming class starting October 8th. Apply and find out more information online at http://www.roberticulinarypathway.org or by calling 224-209-3717.
Our fall programming begins according to the following schedule:
Sewing September 10th
RCP Perspective Employers Luncheon September 21st
Join us as we walk in this year’s Waukegan Mexican Parade ‘Fiestas Patrias’, Sunday, September 16th from 1-4pm.
We welcome students seeking an internship in areas such as social work, nursing, public health, agriculture or other related fields.
Our usual wish wist:
We appreciate your continued interest and support! Please consider donating. Thank you!