Growing Seeds, Minds, and Community: A Case Study Evaluation of The Green Heart Project's Youth Internship Program

No Thumbnail Available
Burner, Caroline Elizabeth
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Urban community gardens are often home to a variety of environmental education programs. One such program centered in a community garden is the Youth Internship Program created by The Green Heart Project. Through using mixed methods techniques and a case study approach, the Youth Internship Program’s immediate outcomes were evaluated by assessing 12 participants’ changes in Career Preparedness skills, Healthy Living attitudes, Citizenship content knowledge, and Community Practices and Learning Through a Community abilities after participating in the 8-week long curriculum. These 12 participants consisted of 1st year and 2nd year interns, which were evaluated together and separately to understand the effectiveness of the program. Outcomes were assessed through the lens of Situated Learning Theory and its relation to place-based environmental education. Through analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data, results indicated that the Youth Internship Program was effective in positively changing all, 1st year, and 2nd year interns’ skills, attitudes, knowledge, and community abilities. Linear regressions showed that skills, attitudes, and knowledge had significant positive relationships with one another. This indicated that the themes were interconnected and that learning gains in one area helped interns experience gains in another area. Furthermore, analysis of the qualitative data showed that all interns developed a sense of Social Justice due to the place-based nature of the program. This outcome was important as it highlighted the program’s ability to connect interns with the local community and place. Overall, the data demonstrated that the program was effective in helping interns grow personally, professionally, and academically.