Youth Guidance builds garden with community partners


Pictured from left to right: Phil Barnes, Youth Guidance Executive Director, Krystal Ezell and Jonathan Morales.

Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy and Keep Indian River Beautiful (KIRB) recently built a community garden at the Youth Guidance facility. This project was made possible through a collaboration of community partners. KIRB, Lowe’s, and Sunrise Rotary Vero Beach donated supplies. Volunteers from KIRB, Sunrise Rotary and the Junior League of Indian River assembled garden beds, laid down soil, and put down pavers, in preparation for planting in the fall. Youth Guidance students spent the day helping and learning. “This project helped Youth Guidance start a gardening and agriculture program, where kids learn to grow healthy fruits and vegetables,” said Daisy Packer Morris, Executive Director of KIRB.  “We are thrilled to partner with Youth Guidance and help prepare children for a future of sustainability thanks to the Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant.”

The community garden will give students the opportunity to experience nature firsthand and learn the importance of incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into their diets. Youth Guidance plans to use produce from the garden in its cooking lessons, and older students will have the chance to sell their crops at local farmer’s markets. “The kids couldn’t wait to get their hands dirty!” said Youth Guidance Executive Director Phil Barnes. “Gardening has so many benefits for kids and adults alike, and this presents a fantastic opportunity to teach our students new skills.”

In addition to gardening and agriculture, Youth Guidance is implementing several programs this year to teach students life skills and career skills, including cooking, bike mechanics, money management, cosmetology, home economics and boat repair.

Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy is dedicated to enriching the lives of Indian River County youth through mentoring relationships that inspire trust, self-esteem, and positive futures. Founded in 1973, Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy serves children ages 5-18 from low-income families. Children receive daily meals and participate in one-on-one and group mentoring programs that include cooking, sewing, trade skills, life skills, S.T.E.A.M., tutoring, community service, and more. All programming occurs after school and during the summer, and it is completely free for families. If you are interested in learning more about or donating to Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy, please call 772.492.3933, or visit our website at

To learn more about Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy, become a mentor, or make a donation, please call 772-492-3933 or visit

About Keep Indian River Beautiful

Keep Indian River Beautiful is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful.  Formally organized in 1998, Keep Indian River Beautiful is dedicated to improving our community and environment through education and hands-on volunteer opportunities. Our mission is to unite our community through environmental responsibility.  Visit us at Ask us about volunteering or for more information on opportunities such as Adopt-A-Highway, the upcoming International Coastal Cleanup or upcoming beautification and tree planting projects.

One comment

Comment - Please use your first and last name. Comments of up to 350 words are welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s