2021 summer program to fight hunger and climate change launched

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Summer Program interns

ReWild Long Island, Plant A Row, Port Washington, and the Mosaic Foundation for Autism have partnered again to offer hands-on learning experiences for youth in 2021.

High school students who want to help grow food for families with food insecurity and to create rewilded native plant landscapes can apply for summer internships through local organizations in Port Washington.

This year’s program will mobilize 25 local area youth to spend 4 hours a week for 16 weeks learning about the environmental and social benefits of rewilding and locally grown produce, while significantly benefiting local food pantries and public spaces with the fruits of their hard work. Youth who complete the program successfully are awarded scholarships.

The program also welcomes student and adult volunteers who can participate substantively without committing to the entire program duration. Youth who show consistent participation also earn commendation certificates from the Town of North Hempstead.

“We believe that youth scholarships are important to ensure that young people from all socio-economic backgrounds can participate in the program. This program is a great way to inspire high school youth to consider careers that would benefit the environment and our community” says Laurie Murdoch, resident of Mosaic Foundation for Autism and co-founder of the Summer Program.

A generous grant from the Peter and Jeri Dejana Foundation to ReWild Long Island formed the bedrock of funding for the 2021 program, making it possible to recruit student interns this year. The Peter and Jeri Dejana Foundation provides over one million in grants to nonprofits, with 80 percent of the recipients based in Port Washington. The Foundation makes donations to school organizations, beautification groups, veteran organizations, extracurricular activities and charities.

Additional funding was also provided by Summer Together, A program of Long Island Together, a wholly volunteer-run program that funds summer camp scholarships for Port Washington families in need of economic assistance. Founded in 2018, Summer Together has enabled hundreds of Port children to share in fun and enriching summer activities with their peers.

Students who went through the program last year are glowing in their praise for the experience.

“The Summer Program 2020 was an amazing program. Whether harvesting baskets of green beans at the science museum or composting at Dodge Farm, the experience has been great and educational.” Lily Goch 2020 summer intern. Inspired by last year’s program, Lily and four other student interns from last year’s program are now part of the organizing committee for the 2021 Summer Program and looking forward to mentoring the new student volunteers this year.

The program still welcomes individual contributions that will be used to widen the reach and scope of student engagement. Visit www.rewildlongisland.org/summerprogram to learn more and support the Summer Program to Fight Hunger and Climate Change. For inquiries, email info@rewildlongisland.org.

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