connect / 2021

Chicas Verdes

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Bari Applebaum Creative

We want to help create a world where young people understand the connection they have to nature and each other and are prepared to live up to the responsibilities of being a good global citizen. We bring students into community gardens where they can establish roots and develop as socially minded leaders so that they can spread their positive influence wherever they go.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • South LA

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Chicas Verdes brings kids into nature who would otherwise not have access to green space because of the zip code they live in. We believe that a connection nature is pivotal in order to create the future leaders we need. By providing students with access to nature, they have the opportunity to play and experience joy, which promotes physical and mental health. Once students have a healthy base, they develop the self-esteem and self-awareness necessary to foster healthy relationships. From there, students develop a sense of community and trust among one another. This sense of community and trust is pivotal if we want students to take advantage of opportunities to learn and develop. Oftentimes, students experience an affective filter that prevents them from taking advantage of these opportunities. It is our goal to strip them of these barriers so that they can achieve their full potential and develop into our future leaders.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

Chicas Verdes is an innovative after-school program that provides: A community garden where students can play, experience joy, and appreciate beauty Knowledge on how to strengthen one’s mental and physical health Guidance on enhancing one’s self-esteem and self-awareness Team-building activities that foster healthy relationships A platform for engaging local communities and generating trust among fellow humans Access to new learning and development opportunities Role models that can mentor students as they strive to create a better future Chicas Verdes students meet in a garden after school for three hours twice a week and experience a three part curriculum that covers self, nature, and society. During the first 30 minutes of our time together, students learn about self. We discuss nutrition and self care, get to know each other and build trust through team-building activities, and have time to play and develop social and emotional skills. The next hour is spent on nature. Students work in the garden and learn about agriculture and horticulture, ecosystems, and appreciation of beauty. The last 90 minutes, students learn about society. Students discuss social justice, environmental justice, and leadership and entrepreneurship. During this time, students hear from guest speakers and implement community based solutions to the societal problems they learn about. Students run weekly food giveaways and monthly community workshops about healthy, sustainable living.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

60
Direct impact
47,000
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

If our work is successful, LA students will be equipped with the social and emotional support necessary to become socially minded leaders who promote volunteerism and community connection within their neighborhoods. There will be a greater sense of community and care for one another that is developed through community workshops and community service projects. LA students will have a personal connection to nature and in turn will care for the environment and make personal choices that will help us create a healthier world for all. Students will be equipped with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to live a healthy sustainable lifestyle. They will become stewards of our mission and share their love of nature and their community with others.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Impact is measured through qualitative testimonials and quantitative data. Students in the program complete quarterly assessments that measure self-esteem, self-awareness, sense of community, and the impact they believe they have in the community. Students also provide testimonials that showcase the impact of our work. Here’s what some of our students have to say: “Chicas Verdes makes me feel like I’m wanted somewhere. I’m not alone, and I’m enough for being who I am”; “When I put my hands in the dirt, the first thing that comes to mind is how I can change my life to be, just, happier”; “Chicas Verdes taught me that if I truly believe in something, like making a change, it can actually happen”. We also track the impact of the projects students are implementing in the community. For example, since May of 2020, students have worked with over 150 volunteers to distribute over 1.3 million pounds of produce and 1000 masks to 47,000 families through our weekly giveaway program.

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

Bari Applebaum Creative is serving as the organization representative for Chicas Verdes Corp while Chicas Verdes Corp is re-designated as a Public Charity. Chicas Verdes currently has 501(c)(3) status, but was misclassified as a foundation instead of a public charity. The EIN number for Chicas Verdes Corp is 850907771.

Which of the connect metrics will you impact?​

  • Social and emotional support
  • Volunteerism

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the best place to PLAY