Urban Tree Connection
Curriculum Development Coordinator
The fellow will create a comprehensive curriculum for the after-school programming run by Urban Tree Connection annually. This curriculum will be designed to engage teens between the ages of 13 and 19, in groups of up to 15, with specific educational outcomes developed around environmental education, financial literacy and job training, health and nutrition, and peer leadership. By providing an outdoor, hands-on gardening program to youth in the neighborhoods we work in, we are able to engage whole families in our greening and food production activities. In addition, we are able to address the need for after-school activities for children, providing youth with mentors, active learning, and a set of ethics that revolves around respect for the individuals in our immediate community, as well as the land around us.
Agency Mission The mission of the Urban Tree Connection (UTC) is to assist low-income communities in Philadelphia to revitalize their neighborhoods by transforming abandoned open spaces into safe and functional places that inspire and promote positive human interaction. We build community one vacant lot at a time.
Address 5125 Woodbine Avenue; Philadelphia, PA 19139
Total number of Agency Staff Members 4
Agency Budget $400,000
Please state in measurable and quantifiable terms the specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address
This project will serve children and teens from the Haddington section of West Philadelphia, a community where 43% of the residents, including 40% of all children, live at or below the federal 150% poverty level as compared to the 2003 Pennsylvania poverty rate of 10.5%. A greater percentage of the population in this area receives public assistance (18.6%) than the Philadelphia average (13.9%). The potential for self-destructive behaviors such as drug use and violence in children and teens raised in environments like this is quite high, and is supported in the City of Philadelphia through crime statistics and high school dropout rates. This risk can be greatly reduced by after-school and summer programs that provide youth with a sense of belonging to a positive, supportive group; meaningful connections with caring adults; development of self esteem; and community and civic participation. Urban Tree Connection provides after-school programming that revolves around greening the community and growing food on abandoned lots. The City of Philadelphia is plagued by a level of food insecurity greater than that of the national average. According to the Philadelphia Grow Project (2003-2007), 13.6 percent of households and 7,600 children in Philadelphia were food insecure in 2006. Philadelphia has “the second lowest number of supermarkets per capita of major cities in the nation,” and the number of supermarkets in its lowest-income neighborhoods is 156 percent lower than that of its highest-income neighborhoods (Burton, 2004, p. 4; Johnson-Piett, 2006). We believe that by creating a youth led community greening movement, we are addressing both the critical need for positive, structured youth programming and access to healthy foods.
Describe how your agency addresses this need, and how the new capacity created by this fellow will help alleviate the problem
Currently the UTC is focusing most of its time and resources in the Haddington area of West Philadelphia that is bounded by 52nd to 63rd Streets and Market Street to Girard Avenue. We are working to create programs and activities that raise awareness and promote long-term community action with a focus on health and environmental issues in relation to greening and farming urban open space. The majority of our time is spent on the ground, working with children and teens in an after-school capacity, during the growing season. We find that, by providing an outdoor, hands-on gardening program to youth in the neighborhoods we work in, we are able to engage whole families in our greening and food production activities. In addition, we are able to address the need for after-school activities for children, providing youth with mentors, active learning, and a set of ethics that revolves around respect for the individuals in our immediate community, as well as the land around us. We would like the Philly Fellow to help create and test a comprehensive curriculum for our after-school teen programs, with specific educational outcomes developed around environmental education, financial literacy and job training, health and nutrition, and peer leadership. This will allow us to take our after-school youth programs to the next level, helping junior high and high school students make connections between the activities done as part of the garden program and the rest of their life – whether it be related to education, personal health, work, or social interactions.
Describe the level of community involvement in the fellow’s project
The Fellow will consult with current program leaders and students, in order to most accurately vision and develop the curriculum. During the fall of 2012, the Fellow will facilitate discussions with youth involved in our after school programs. These discussions will also involve program leaders. Later in the year, community members currently serving as volunteers and advisors to UTC will be present to assist with curriculum development and aspects of implementation. Students enrolled in our seasonal cohorts will be on-hand to participate in curriculum pilots in the spring and summer of 2013.
Please outline in list form the fellow's duties and responsibilities
The fellow will be responsible for the following:
• Creating a written curriculum for after-school teen programming. Curriculum should be age specific, continuous, and focused on topics developed with the help of the program leaders and older youth.
• Writing grants to support this programming.
• Organizing an academic resource list that can be used to adjust curriculum on an as needed basis, as programs evolve.
• Assessing current program evaluation methods, as they relate to newly developed curriculum.
• Using social media to recruit students and promote the programs.
• Implementing curriculum with the support of UTC program delivery staff during the spring and summer of 2013.
• Keeping evaluative data collection sheets during the spring and summer of 2013 to document the daily success of curriculum developed by the Fellow.
• Researching and recommending curriculum for UTC’s family and seniors’ programs.
Please outline in list form the skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position
The fellow should have the following skills / qualifications:
• An academic background in education, especially multicultural education, environmental education, or active learning-based education.
• Some in classroom or after-school based teaching experience, internship or degree related experience.
• Experience using spreadsheet and database software, basic computer skills required.
• Experience or familiarity with social media.
• Experience working with low income families, at–risk youth, and youth raised in an urban environment.
• A high level of proficiency in communication and organizing others.
• A high level of proficiency in writing.
• An interest in working in the field of urban agriculture, community greening, and youth leadership.
Please describe your agency's plan to orient and train the fellow
The fellow will work closely with Urban Tree Connection staff, including the Executive Director and Program Director in all matters. Office orientation will include training in relevant computer programs and activities and an introduction to UTC staff and neighborhood volunteers. The workplace environment is informal enough that the fellow can ask questions and receive guidance as needed. The fellow will be asked to review organizational handbooks and pre–existing curriculum materials developed by the previous Fellow. Orientation in the field will include attending community meetings, assisting with events, and spending the fall of 2012 acclimatizing to the organization in order to prepare for developing a curriculum for the spring and summer of 2013.
Name and title of the fellow's immediate supervisor
Skip Wiener; Executive Director
Please briefly describe plans for supervision of fellow
The Executive Director will supervise the Fellow, providing guidance and support for curriculum development as well as opportunities for professional development and field learning experience.
Will fellow be working at the same address listed above? Yes
Will the fellow have their own…
Office? Fellow will share Desk? Fellow will have their own Computer? Fellow will have their own
Please approximate the percentage of time the fellow will work…
As a team member in a group setting 20
As a team leader in a group setting 20
Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position? No
If so, how often and where?
Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…
A driver’s license? No
Their own car? No
1515 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102