Barnard Elementary School houses one of Kid Power's largest (and oldest) school gardens. The school has 10 raised garden beds and a state-of-the-art 400 sq. foot greenhouse! Unfortunately, due to water damage many of the beds are no longer usable. That is where our fantastic group of volunteers from Schiff Hardin came in to help!
Schiff Hardin LLP is a general practice law firm representing clients across the United States and around the world. Committed to keeping strong ties to the communities in which they practice, the firm has designed a program called “All Come Together (A.C.T.).” Each year, the Washington, D.C. office chooses to fundraise for one local charity through “Jeans Day” and with volunteer opportunities.
On Friday, October 13, eight lawyers and staff members went to the school to help Kid Power Inc. build new beds for the Barnard students! These volunteers spent the afternoon deconstructing old beds and rebuilding new, sturdier models. From the moment they arrived, they jumped right into the project, taking the lead on task delegation, problem solving and physical labor. The group of volunteers not only took initiative in the building process, but were eager to learn more about Kid Power's VeggieTime program, asking me and other Kid Power staff about program structure and activities.
It's always exciting to see volunteer groups truly want to understand how their work will make an impact rather than just volunteering for the sake of volunteering. While I'm sure spending time outside of the office was a great change of pace for the volunteers, after a couple of minutes it became clear to me that their primary goal at Barnard was to work hard and get the project done.
Ami Scott, a lawyer at Schiff stated that it was “truly a perfect opportunity and a perfect day.” She followed up with Andria Tobin, Kid Power Executive Director, explaining that on the drive over everyone was eagerly talking in anticipation of the project, but there was silence on the way home because everyone was so exhausted. In extension of their support, the D.C. office and Schiff Hardin are donating $2,530 toward Barnard Elementary School for the VeggieTime program to fund supplies for the rest of the garden beds.
Before winter break, students at Barnard will learn about preparing gardens for wintertime and have the opportunity to plant garlic and onions in the newly constructed beds! Over the next few months, we will continue to rebuild the damaged garden beds at Barnard and are always looking for more enthusiastic volunteers to help (no construction experience necessary)! I expect that the new updated garden will bring even more students into the garden during Kid Power VeggieTime and during the school day!
Kid Power’s 4th Annual Taste of the Garden!
“Having the opportunity to watch kids interact with chefs, learn more about Kid Power’s VeggieTime program, and eat great food was the highlight of my night!”
On September 29th, Kid Power hosted our 4th Annual Taste of the Garden fundraiser. We were thrilled to be joined by a lively group of Kid Power friends old and new despite the dreary weather! The Taste of the Garden celebrates Kid Power’s award-winning VeggieTime program while bringing awareness to the nutrition, hunger, and education needs of DC youth.
This year, 10 Kid Power “sous chefs” worked with professional Chefs Robert Wood of Eco Caters DC & Super Fd, Brendan Tharp of Maddy’s Restaurant Group, and Jan Van Haute of Haute Saison Catering who competed for the Champion of Health title in a squash-themed cook-off. Kid Power students were thrilled to have the opportunity to show off their culinary skills while learning new tips and tricks from the pros!
After tasting each dish, guests voted Chef Jan Van Haute and his team the winners with their creamy Squash Risotto dish! We are so grateful to our guest chefs who were extremely generous with their time and talents!
Additionally, students who participated in the Pickle Power project at Kid Power’s 2016 Summer Leadership Academy offered samples of each of their different pickle recipes, which varied from savory to sweet, giving guests all different kinds to choose from.
Thanks to the generosity of guests and chefs, the evening was a great success and will help Kid Power continue to provide critical health, academic, and social services to DC youth this school year. From tasty food, to meeting new friends, to watching Kid Power students work with the pros, it was truly a night to remember full of fun and laughter! Thank you to all for joining us!
Student Advocacy Letters
Kid Power students recently wrote letters to advocate for after-school programs. We received hundreds of letters from students about why Kid Power is important to them and how our programs can help them accomplish their goals. We hope you enjoy a few of our favorites!
“I thought all pickles tasted like dill pickles, and I don’t like those. But in Pickle Power I learned that you can make pickles different ways and they taste different. Ours taste awesome.”
This summer, Kid Power students applied their business, culinary, and service-learning skills through Pickle Power!
First, students learned about flavor profiles by sampling a variety of pickles, then they teamed up to create their own original pickle recipes. With recipes in hand, students went to SuperFd Catering’s professional kitchen (thanks to Kid Power Board Member- Chef Robbie Wood!) to make their own pickles using fresh, locally source ingredients. And they made over 500 jars!!
Next, these aspiring entrepreneurs pitched their business and marketing plan to a panel of “Shark Tank” judges. They discussed their logo designs and slogans, net and gross profits, and which charity they wanted to donate their proceeds to. The winners as selected by the judges won an additional $100 to support their project!
“This is my favorite part—selling them. It’s fun to be out here talking with people and telling them about our pickles and all the work we did.”
Finally, students sold their pickles in the community. They sold over 200 jars, raising over $400! Students will donate half of the proceeds to a charity of their choosing—the DC Humane Society—and get to keep the rest of their earnings for all of their hard work!
Youth take a leading role in directing the vision and scope of this project. It was actually student feedback on the Hot Sauce Challenge in previous summers, in which youth created and bottled their own hot sauce recipes, that led to the launch of Pickle Power this year. Students learned key leadership, teamwork, and workforce development skills in every phase of the project, and they have much to be proud of in their successful small business launch!
Wondering where you can get your bottle of Kid Power pickles? They will be for sale at Kid Power’s Taste of the Garden on Thursday, September 29th!
Collaboration in the District
Kid Power’s holistic approach strongly emphasizes offering youth a wide variety of educational opportunities and experiences—whether from our diverse programs or through collaboration with fellow non-profit organizations. In DC, we’re lucky to be surrounded by community organizations that work in a wide variety of fields—from the arts to technology and gaming to fellow urban gardeners—that can offer Kid Power students exciting new ways to learn and apply their knowledge.
One such recent collaboration was with ArtReach at THEARC, a year-round museum outreach program that is designed to empower DC youth and families to explore and trust their own creativity through the process of art making and learning about art history. Kid Power students at Malcolm X Elementary School had the opportunity to apply a recent STEM-based VeggieTime lesson to a creative art project. First, students learned about fish that are native to the Anacostia River, the American Schad and the Striped Bass, and invasive species that are affecting the Anacostia, the snakehead fish—a “bully fish” as one student aptly pointed out. Next, instructors from ArtReach at THEARC taught Kid Power students painting techniques, such as painting with gradient — blending colors from dark to light. Finally, each student was given a windsock with a drawing of a lock fish to paint in gradient and unleash their creativity.
Collaborating with other non-profits to offer Kid Power students diverse, cross-disciplinary experiences is fundamental to our mission. It helps us to leverage resources while exposing Kid Power students to new experiences and creative learning opportunities. To learn more about Kid Power’s partnerships, check out Our Partners page!