Long before local grocer Vons donated an abandoned storefront, post-riots, as a safe space for his community meetings, Lou Dantzler, the beloved visionary founder of Boys & Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles’s (BGCMLA) Challengers Clubhouse, was gathering weekly with groups of kids under a maple tree in South LA that provided a respite from the sun and noise of the city as well as an opportunity to commune with nature. It was part of his mission to provide exposure, mentorship, and support to youth in the Metro LA area.
It’s fitting that the latest development at the BGCMLA’s Watts-Willowbrook Clubhouse, a sister site of the Challengers’ Clubhouse located in Watts on the border of Compton, is a multi-week curriculum teaching participating children the science behind their favorite plant-based foods, the connection between personal wellness and food advocacy, and the cultural significance of gardens and growth in their own neighborhood and beyond.
This program was developed in coordination with Support+Feed and Wild Elements. The 12-month pilot began last month, and it is the hope of all involved that the program will continue permanently.
“One of the most important aspects of youth development is food education and positive nutrition,” said Kimberly Washington, Vice President of Resource Development for BGCMLA.
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