What’s New in Youth Engagement at Grounded?


Since embarking on my journey at Grounded in September of 2019,  I have been having some fun and making a difference in several communities.  By and large, one of my favorites is Hazelwood. As a Greenfield native, I grew up just around the corner playing and learning about life in Hazelwood with friends and family. My engagements as a Grounded staff member have ranged from formal building projects to networking events and (many) teaching sessions. In one of my more memorable sessions, I engaged children about smog, pollution and its effects on the body through a very “hands-on” exercise with a pigs’ lung. (Thank you to our partners at Group Against Smog and Pollution (G.A.S.P.) for providing our materials and curriculum!) 


Children from ages 3-15, and adults alike, have experienced these sessions. Center of Life/Fusion’s afterschool program has been a heavy point of engagement. Grades PreK-1 learned about seed types, fruits, and vegetables, sorting and color recognition through seed exploration and ornament making. Grades 2-5 were able to inflate a pair of pig lungs through the G.A.S.P. health kit. They also made “booger slime”, which mimics the mucus build-up when a person has asthma. Others in the programming ages made “bottle lungs”, which demonstrate how the lungs and diaphragm must work together to keep our beautiful bodies breathing.


The students of Jada House learned about lung function in connection to asthma; our session coincided with a code orange air day, which really put things into perspective for one student in particular who had an asthma attack that very day.




I have learned a lot about love and community health in these past few months. Grounded and Hazelwood have been able to enjoy 3 community volunteer days to help the neighborhood beautify and uplift. I can’t say that I was shocked at the amazing turnouts to these events. On January 18th, Grounded, The Crossroads Foundation, and neighborhood volunteers came together through a day of service organized by The Mission Continues. We spent the day painting, learning the proper use of power tools, making toiletry travel bags for youth, building new desks, and creating a new

classroom for the youngest kiddos at Center of Life’s afterschool programming and summer campsite, The Spartan Center. Two days later on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day of Service, volunteers from the Crossroads Foundation joined me in serving community members at a luncheon which included a beautiful meal, bingo, contests, and a photo booth. Hazelwood won my heart during MLK Weekend 2020. My goal is to engage as many young people as possible; reaching across many organizations partnering and pairing like-minded people to Hazelwood. What a fulfilling few months this has been for me.

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