A three sport athlete, a dancer, a student, and a leader. These are just some of the words that can be used to describe Dani Butler. On top of her already busy schedule, Dani is also taking on her first year as a Project LEAD at Youth Farm. After being a part of the Youth Farm family for three years, she naturally transitioned into her current role.

“I’ve been a part of Youth Farm since I was in sixth grade,” Dani, now a freshman at Open World Learning (OWL), said. “I originally got involved because one of my friends had been in programs here when she was younger and I’ve been here ever since.”

As Dani takes on more responsibilities in her high school career, we asked her what led her to prioritize becoming a Project LEAD at Youth Farm.  

“I think one of the main reasons I have stayed at Youth Farm for so long is because I love learning to cook,” Dani said. “We are always making things here that I’m not used to cooking at home and it’s really cool to learn new recipes. I use the kitchen skills I’ve learned to make lunch for my siblings at home.”

“I also really love learning about gardening. I think I’ll always be more passionate about cooking, but I have learned how to grow plants and we have had small gardens at home where we grow things like herbs.”

As Dani has been gardening, cooking, and eating with her peers and family, she has been doing all of these things in a conscious way.

“Over the past few years I have learned a lot about healthy eating,” Dani said. “I am now so much more aware of plants and food and where they come from.”

Outside of the kitchen, Dani has also recently been exploring her role as a leader for younger youth. 

“I think my favorite part of my current role as a Project LEAD has been working with kids at Jackson Elementary School this summer,” Dani said. “I’ve realized that I really enjoy being around kids, but Youth Farm is also just a great place to make friends and be around people in general.”

Dani, center, leading students from Jackson Elementary School’s summer program in their school garden.

There is so much in store for Dani as she continues on through her high school career and then into adulthood. 

“Right now I am still figuring out what I want to do,” Dani said. “I just started high school and haven’t given much thought yet to what I want to do when I graduate. I am interested in so many different things and it’s so hard for me to pick just one thing I am passionate about.”

With an abundance of skills and interests, there is no doubt that Dani is going places! As she continues to grow as an athlete, student, and leader, we are excited to see where her passions land – no doubt leading her directly into success.