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Summer of Opportunity Program

Our annual Summer of Opportunity Program (SOOP) engaged Rochester youth in gardening, civic engagement, and financial literacy over a 6-week program. This year, we are receiving different funding that allows us to adjust the program to better fit the needs of the Beechwood community and its residents. 

Summer Youth Employment

For the past several years, SMSJ has been selected by RochesterWorks! as a host site for the Summer of Opportunity Program (SOOP), an employment placement and training program designed to connect high school-aged youth with local employment opportunities. As a host site, SMSJ has been able to employ five to ten youth interns at our EDEN Community Gardens each summer for a six-week period. During this period, the SOOP Interns gained valuable professional development experiences and networking opportunities while engaging with urban agriculture initiatives in an effort to improve access to nutritious foods within the Beechwood Neighborhood.

This summer, SMSJ will be separating from RochesterWorks! funding and partnering with Taproot Collective and City Roots Community Land Trust to sponsor a similar six-week youth development program. Over the course of this six-week program, youth living within the Beechwood Neighborhood will have the opportunity to work alongside their community members in re-designing and maintaining three of the EDEN Community Gardens. Like past SOOP programs, participants will learn about civic engagement and urban agriculture. Due to a change in funding however, applicants from the Beechwood neighborhood will be prioritized in the selection process. To learn more about this program, send us an email at admin@stmarksandstjohns.org.