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Our Urban Garden

         In 2020, YMEN was one of the only youth leadership organizations that continued to engage community youth.  We were able to use our Urban Garden that Covenant Children’s Ministry has helped us to begin.  YMEN would like to expand what we have done in the past couple of years to work with an additional 10 youth and add 1,000 square feet of additional gardening space.                                                                                                                                                                  

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This newsletter will highlight the work YMEN has and is doing to bring food and essential supplies to our neighborhood families, support to help students educationally, financial resources to help our small business owners, and effective projects that build collaborations with other key community partners. If you are reading this

newsleber it is because you care about our students and their families and are probably one of the reasons we can shine so brightly in the midst of the surrounding darkness.

Thank you for helping YMEN be a help to others; we could not do it without you!

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Expanding Urban Gardening  & Building a  Hot Pepper Garden

DOUBLING DOWN! Young Men's Educational Network (YMEN) adds a 6,000 sq/ft urban garden in North Lawndale by building 15 raised beds to grow specialty peppers. Student leaders from the Young Men's Educational Network (YMEN) work with carpenters and volunteers to build fifteen 4x8 raised planters to grow specialty pepper plants that will be used in a nationally distributed hot sauce called, “CHICAGO!” The Small Axe Pepper Company will create a hot sauce using hybrid jalapeño peppers grown by YMEN in North Lawndale. Students in YMEN used 2x4 lumber to construct the “home” for these peppers. In addition to getting income for their work, they learned to use power tools and build transferrable skills that will last long beyond the harvesting of the peppers. These new raised vegetable beds were placed in a lot that had previously been a dump site. The neighbors are so appreciative of our community transformation efforts. Special thanks to Bob Newland (and our Hinsdale friends) for teaching us how to build these raised beds.

At the intersection of high unemployment, food insecurity, remote learning, and neglected vacant land ...... is an opportunity for impact touching all of these needed social pains. With unemployment at historic highs, this summer, YMEN employed 25 teens engaged in urban farming in North Lawndale. We called these youth KINGS and QUEENS! Working outdoors and following CDC guidelines of masks, sanitizers, and working smaller working groups, these youth gained both skills and employment while growing fresh produce on formerly vacant and neglected land. Here are the numbers of IMPACT:

25 teens hired — 3 college interns hired — 4 YMEN staff — $15,800 summer income — 15,000 square feet of urban farming — 25 volunteers — 18 types of fruits and vegetables — 300 pounds of jalapeño peppers — 0 incidences of violence.

Check out what our partner has to say

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