It’s been a busy month at Green Opportunities! If anything, our hectic schedule this month has reminded us all that our training programs are operating at their best when diverse people and employers from across our community are actively engaged in supporting our student’s growth and success.
During the past few weeks our Kitchen Ready and YouthBuild students have participated in budgeting and credit classes led by Anna Smith of OnTrack Financial, and taken a soft skills and career pathways focused-tour of the Biltmore Estate. Thanks to the support of Trey Williams, a Kitchen Ready graduate currently employed at East Fork Pottery as Kitchen Manager & Jigger Operator, we’ll be visiting East Fork on September 24 to learn about their manufacturing process, careers, and company culture.
Volunteers who’ve invested their time and talent in our classrooms have helped to plant seeds for change and create lasting impact. In September, we were lucky to have Angie Flynn-McIver (Ignite CSP) lead a three-part Roots of Effective Communication class for YouthBuild students, while recent Asheville transplant Liz Kreml led several math tutoring sessions with Kitchen Ready students, reviewing fractions, kitchen measurements, and more.
Our local independent restaurants and entrepreneurs have been stepping up to show their support. Kitchen Ready students participated in recent cooking workshops and demos with guest chefs Paul Cremer (Rhubarb), Dan Silo (Sawhorse), and Jackie Rowley (Three Eggs Cakery). On Friday, two of our soon-to-be-graduates will complete their six-week Work Experience placements at Rhubarb and Benne on Eagle. This week the students of Cycle 23 will also serve their final community lunches in Southside Kitchen. Click here to view this week’s menu. Next week we’ll be closed for lunch as our students take their final exams, finalize their resumes, and prepare for their October 3rd Showcase Dinner, which is open to the community.
The YouthBuild classroom has also been a-buzz of late. YouthBuild kicked off the month with a week-long “GO Enterprises, Inc.” work simulation exercise, which helped emphasize for students the importance of being present, on-time, and in uniform each day. The students did really well with the simulation, earning a hike to Midnight Hole in the Smoky Mountains as a reward. Last week, students and staff delivered several desks handcrafted from reclaimed wood to our friends at LEAF Community Arts. When they’re not participating in GED, HBI or life skills classes, YouthBuild students continue to improve their carpentry skills by framing out walls in the Housing Authority house we’re helping to build on Gaston Street. We recently added two new members to our YouthBuild staff, Tony Walker as Case Manager, and Rachel Barefoot as Job Developer. Rachel and Tony are both former GO students, and we’re thrilled to have them on the team.
As the fall semester kicks off, our 16-24 year old Youth Corps students are also hard at work. We have 7 students currently enrolled in our GO Academics GED course. Students use interactive technology to build skills in math and reading, and frequently conduct science experiments with the class’ instructor, Lynn Pace from A-B Tech. Jesse, a former GO Academic student, just passed all of his GED assessments and will be receiving his diploma later this month! Our post-secondary Youth Corps students are also having an incredible start to the academic year. We have students currently enrolled in A-B Tech and Warren Wilson, as well as students who are in the process of completing applications for Fall Mid-mester classes. Felicia, another GO Academics graduate, is applying to a medical sonography program, while Kanesha is enrolling in a cosmetology program. Finally, Youth Corps is also excited to introduce its new Case Manager: Ally Sloss. She is an AmeriCorps and Teach for America alumna who is excited to continue working with young adults with Green Opportunities.
On the horizon for fall: a potential business planning training offered by Mountain BizWorks at GO, work experience opportunities for Youth Corps students, and a new YouthBuild cohort. Stay tuned for more details!