Youth Tree Team 2022: Largest Team Yet
Our summer youth job training program, Youth Tree Team (YTT), has grown tremendously since 2016 when our first summer began with 12 students. The 2022 cohort included:
- 48 students from 29 schools across four metro Atlanta counties
- 22% returning students from one or more prior years
- 4 of the 48 students are high school graduates headed to college this fall
Read more below.
Above, photo credit: Audrey Pruitt
From Trainee to Employee
Graduates of the YTT program continue onto college and/or full- or part-time jobs, including two YTT alumni who were hired to the Trees Atlanta Urban Forestry staff as technicians for tree care and three returned as interns for our program and administrative teams. For example, Angel Abrue, YTT member in 2020 and 2021, is our current Volunteer Services Intern. Recently, Angel and YTT Supervisor Willette Jackson shared their perspectives about the program at the Westside Future Fund Community Summit where a panel from Trees Atlanta was invited to present. Here’s the recording, if you’d like to take a moment to view the presentation.
The Youth Tree Team works directly with the Trees Atlanta staff across programs, mainly with our tree care maintenance crew learning how to properly identify and remove invasive plant species, mulching planted areas, pruning trees, and watering the plants in the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum and surrounding neighborhoods.
During the seven-week program in June and July 2022, the Youth Tree Team worked together to achieve outcomes, including:
- Serviced over 1,345 trees
- Filled, carried, and spread 905 buckets of mulch
- Used 3,125 buckets of water, equaling 15,625 gallons
- Removed 29 acres of invasives
- Collectively set aside and saved over $21,000 from earnings
The summer program is a paid job training program that also includes an enrichment curriculum that sparks young peoples’ environmental stewardship, teaches financial literacy, launches wider exploration of green careers, and cultivates soft skills for professional development.
A highly valued component of the program for the past several years has been the financial literacy lessons conducted by our community partners, Community Sustainability Enterprise lead by Deirdra Cox and her associates. With their weekly coaching, the Youth Tree Team members collectively saved over $21,000 of their wages! The students are learning about future jobs and careers and also how to launch a lifelong journey of learning how to save and grow their money with various investment tools.
Youth Tree Team is made possible with the financial and program support of many community and corporate partners, including the City of Atlanta, Georgia Power, and the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Department of Community Development CSP Program.
Photo credits: (L-R) Youth Tree Team 2022 Graduation Ceremony; Westside Future Fund Community Summit, Aug. 5, 2022, image from WFF; Week 3 CSE Financial Empowerment Bootcamp; Challenge Day 2022.
It is hard work, but it is extremely rewarding. You may discover new interests that you never thought you’d be interested in. You will definitely make new friends and meet all kinds of different people. It is overall a rigorous program with so many things offered.
– Dash Wang
Join us in Summer 2023
Applications for summer 2023 will open up in November 2022. Youth Tree Team program information is available on our website, including application deadlines. We invite you to sign up for the Trees Atlanta email newsletter to be notified monthly of upcoming events and news about our organization. Come learn and grow with us!
Posted on: September 14, 2022