LEAF program offers real-world experience in a world-conscious setting


Courtesy of The LEAF Project

CELEBRATE: This is LEAF’s feast celebration that they had to wrap up/celebrate the end of their 7 week season in Summer of 2020.

Having a summer or part-time job can set up a teenager for future success in their career path. For instance, Work Ethic, a website for news and research in job readiness, says teens that have job experience can help teenagers plan/figure out what they want to pursue in the future. Along with that, teens that have a job can also get a sense of responsibility and build self-confidence. LEAF is trying to get more students working and trying to get students to have more of those real-life “job” experiences.

The Leadership Education And Farming program (LEAF) is a paid internship nonprofit community organization based in Landisburg PA, built around youth leaders, predominantly high school students 14-18, in South Central PA. In LEAF interns will work alongside other members of the staff to grow produce while procuring a deeper meaning to who they are and the world around them.  

LEAF was founded by Heidi Witmer in 2013. Witmer taught at a private school in Harrisburg, but later “became concerned with the lack of employment opportunities for her students during summer months,” stated in an article written by The Burg.  

According to the LEAF website, the program was then built around the vision of “a world where youth leaders are meaningfully engaged in solving community problems and connect people from diverse backgrounds to food, land, and each other.”

Lauri Grillon, a 16-year-old who has previously been a part of the LEAF staff said, “Being a part of a tightly knit, diverse community, has allowed me to see past my own personal opinions and perspectives. I’ve learned to value the opinions and perspectives of others, and through this, I can now value my own perspectives.” 

Along with learning new perspectives, LEAF is also all about interns learning culinary skills and sustainable practices when dealing with food/farming. Interns will also spend time with hunger relief organizations, to help serve the community around them. Trainees can additionally earn postgraduate scholarships to assist their career path along with opportunities to continue internships into the academic year and future summers with a higher degree of responsibility and compensation. Interns will also earn money for their work over the summer weeks. 

If you are interested in joining the LEAF program this summer or know someone that might be, you can go to their website, http://www.leafprojectpa.org/  to the “Work with LEAF” drop-down menu or go straight to the application.