Job Training in Englewood

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Charity of the Month


We get a close look at our june charity to learn the value of urban farming in an underserved community

We recently had the opportunity to head down to Englewood (bouquets in hand, of course) to get a first-hand look inside our June Charity, Growing Home, who will benefit from every Flowers for Dreams bouquet throughout the month. To learn more about who they are and their experience in the program, we met up with two of Growing Home’s Production Assistants at the Wood Street Urban Farm.

Located in a historic yet underserved community, Growing Home’s Certified Organic Farms cover roughly an acre and a half of city land and are lush with various types of produce. The farms serve as the foundation for Growing Home’s agriculture-based job training program, and also provide a source of fresh produce for the Englewood community. Maia Reed, a Development Associate with Growing Home, greeted us and gave a quick tour of the farms. The 90-degree heat lead us into the Training Center where we were able to chat with Molly and Jermanica during a quick Q&A session while their fellow Production Assistants were working hard to prepare for the weekend’s big farmer’s markets!

First up, Jermanica!

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F4D: How long have you been part of the Growing Home family and how has it impacted you?

Jermanica:“I’ve been part of Growing Home since March 1st of this year after hearing about it from a friend. Since then, it has been a very positive learning experience for me. I’ve developed new personal skills, most importantly how to make eye contact when having a conversation…something I wasn’t good at before. It has also helped with my attitude.”

F4D: How has Growing Home impacted the Englewood community?

Jermanica: “Growing Home has a very positive influence on this community. They’ve been wonderful and are well-known here. They make it a point to be open and accessible to the surrounding area, which can be risky in Englewood.”

F4D: What is your favorite flower?

Jermanica:“Lavender is my favorite! I love the pastel purple color, and the smell.”

Molly’s Turn!

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F4D: How long have you been part of the Growing Home family and how has it impacted you?

Molly: “I’ve been part of the program for 12 weeks. Since I started, I’ve noticed growth in how I interact with others. This is the first job I’ve held for more than 30 days. Before coming to Growing Home, I had a hard time keeping a job. I really enjoy it here.”

F4D: How has Growing Home impacted the Englewood community?

Molly: “I feel like Growing Home is a ‘2nd chance’ program for the people of Englewood who have struggled. They not only teach people to eat better in a community with so little healthy options, but everything is grown right here in Englewood so they knows where it comes from. Even I have been exposed to new foods that I had never tried before like chives and kale. We also accept Link and WIC at our markets because we believe that cost should not be a barrier.”

F4D: Last but not least, what is your favorite flower?

Molly: “Red roses.”

At Flowers For Dreams, we enjoy getting to know the people who benefit from the charities we support. After speaking with Jermanica and Molly, the impact Growing Home has in the area stands out. In 2015, 82% of their Production Assistants completed the 14-week program while 84% moved on to find jobs along Chicago’s food chain. Check out more stats and the good work they do at www.growinghomeinc.org.