Great Futures Grow Here

Boys and Girls Club with Food for Thought by the Sea

With a combined goal of strengthening the community, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County (BGCM, the Club) and Food for Thought by the Sea (FFT) will address the issues of health and wellness for youth and families by blending trauma-informed care, wellness, workforce development, environmental awareness, and the culinary arts. We will connect youth and families to support systems by creating a broad ecosystem of opportunities including growing food, learning how to cook, inspiring kids to be healthy, developing mindfulness skills, gaining employment, and creating family and community engagement opportunities. Our project will focus on underserved youth in the community. The Club is creating a wellness garden at our Asbury Park Unit which will provide a conduit for supporting improved health outcomes. The garden, which will be designed to reduce stress and improve overall well-being, will include raised garden beds to grow vegetables, herbs, and fruit. The Club has received direct funding for the garden installation but will utilize funding from this grant to support two family/community events utilizing the outdoor education space. Club members will learn first-hand how to grow and harvest their own food. FFT has recently launched a non-profit food truck, and it will be used as a mobile teaching kitchen. Our project will give local teens the opportunity to further enhance their culinary arts skills and provide paid work experience on the food truck where they will learn about food, commerce, and business. By supporting and nourishing local youth, we can empower them to succeed through healing-centered programs. Our goal is to create long-term sustainable programs that prevent and mitigate trauma to create a healthier generation and facilitate a safe, healthy, happy, and fun learning environment where our kids can thrive. Every child deserves a great future. This includes the opportunity to live a healthy life. Unfortunately, kids in our service area face significant barriers to achieve this goal.