At Youth Farm, we are constantly preaching the importance of community connections, and our youth continue to remind us why that is so important.
St. Paul Project LEAD, Seeha Sangwang, has been involved at Youth Farm for about two years, but would never have been connected with us if it weren’t for engaged community partners.
“A while back I was looking for a job at the El Rio Vista rec center,” Seeha said. “I was good friends with the program director there at the time, but he told me that they were full, so they couldn’t hire me. He really wanted to help me out though, so he directed me to a Farm Steward from Youth Farm that was running programs at the rec center throughout the summer. I volunteered for a few days during program and was offered a job almost right away because they saw that I was ready to work and loved leading activities with kids!”
Seeha, who is a senior this year at Humboldt High School, has stayed involved at Youth Farm ever since those first few days of volunteering. We are so glad to have him here because his positive energy and hard work ethic is always welcome at program.
“I have always liked the Youth Farm experience because it has really gotten me involved in my community and that’s why I’ve chosen to stay,” Seeha said. “I have also had opportunities to meet a lot of important people and work with kids. Through Youth Farm, we are working together to build the next generation.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Youth like Seeha are instrumental in mentoring younger youth and children and serve as influential role models within their neighborhoods.
Not only has Seeha been an important mentor to his peers and younger youth, he has also met and worked with several people he really looks up to.
“The Farm Steward I worked with my first year was a chef, and he had a lot of connections with other chefs in the community,” Seeha said. “He introduced me to a local chef that was hosting a pop-up and I was invited to join as a guest line cook. This was a super cool opportunity for me because my goal is to cook professionally in the future.”
At Youth Farm, our mission is not to build the next generation of farmers, but rather, to use food as a connection point to build leaders who will go on to be successful doctors, teachers, carpenters, mechanics, artists, and chefs. To bring together our youth, like Seeha, with people who are able to help them realize and act on their goals solidifies why we do what we do.
“Probably the biggest thing that I’ve taken away from Youth Farm is that food brings people together,” Seeha said. “Taking this idea into my own life, I have decided that I really want to become a chef. Next year I am looking into going to St. Paul College for culinary arts. After that I’d like to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in business in order to have the tools to start my own restaurant.”
As Seeha transitions into adulthood, we hope to continue to be a support system for him, helping him build connections that will allow him to achieve his lofty goals.