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Teen Mentoring Program

Ceres Community Project, a grass-roots organization founded in 2007, is committed to building healthy communities by restoring whole, local and organic food to its place as the foundation of health, and by connecting people in heart-centered ways to others and the earth. Teens volunteer and serve as the primary gardeners and chefs. They are responsible, under the guidance of adult mentors, for managing a ¾ acre food production garden and for preparing 72,000 meals annually for clients with serious illness. Youth are required to make a 3 month commitment to the program and to work a minimum of 2 ½ - 3 hours per week. The average youth is involved for 12 months and many for multiple years.  Youth are scheduled for their shifts and expected to show up on time, leave their cell phones at the door, and to work until their shift is complete. Each day’s shift includes ½ period focused on teen education. Topics include nutrition, understanding the impact of our food choices, values education, visits from clients, and team/leadership development. Teens who have completed 50 hours and 6 months in the program receive an apron with their name and Ceres logo. Teens who demonstrate leadership potential and commitment to the program are invited to become Teen Leaders and receive a chef coat with the Ceres logo and their names embroidered. These teens attend bi-monthly meetings where they receive leadership training and they serve as role models and peer educators in the program.

Accepted to the Portfolio: July 2014

Target Outcomes

Short Term Outcomes

  • Increased horticulture and culinary skills
  • Development of work readiness and leadership skills 
  • Improved optimism toward  self and future opportunities
  • Improved peer relationships
  • Increased resiliency
  • Honoring commitment to volunteer 8 hours per month for at least 3 months 
  • Healthier food choices and cook more often

Long Term Outcomes

  • Development of healthy familial, social, and professional relationships
  • Post-secondary education completion
  • Successful career attainment
  • Positive civic engagement
  • Mentored teens eat 5+ servings of fruits & vegetables daily throughout their lives

Target Population


  • Kindergarten  - 12th Grade
  • Transitional Age Youth (16 - 24)

Service Area


  • Southeast (District 1)
  • Southwest (District 2)
  • Central (District 3)
  • Northeast (District 4)
  • Northwest (District 5)