She’s walked the halls of congress. She’s met with our First Lady’s right hand man, Senior Policy Advisor and White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass. She has an undergraduate degree in Science Education and Masters in Nutrition Education.
And now she’s the WYG School Garden Coordinator! Why??
Bethany joined the Washington Youth Garden staff almost exactly one year ago as a part-time School Garden Coordinator to work at two of our Garden Science partner schools. Her position, grant-funded for a limited time, was a pilot effort in our evolving school garden partnership program. Both schools she worked with were so impressed with the work she was able to do with their garden spaces and their students that they allotted money from their own budgets to extend her position through the end of the school year. Clearly, the Washington Youth Garden got a treasure!
At a very belated birthday celebration, Bethany shared some of her inspiration for her move from influencing the lives of millions of children through her position at the Center for Science in the Public Interest to influencing just a few hundred lives through raised beds, simple recipes and lots of energetic hands-on science lessons.
Her reasons included a variety of factors: a need for a break from the hectic and stressful schedule of a lobbyist, healing from some difficult life circumstances, her long-time love of gardening, and a deep desire to continue “promoting healthy diets and good nutrition to children and young people.”
But I think one aspect of her new career choice that resonated strongly with all of our staff was the desire to be the hands and feet serving children that may never otherwise have the opportunity to experience the richness of growing their own food, learn science by doing it or have a real understanding of the natural environment in which they live. While it is a privilege and extremely important to be making change at a policy level, it is a rich and rewarding experience to connect directly with the young constituents themselves. Bethany expressed it simply: now she goes into work and “knows she is making a difference every day.”
We are so thankful that Bethany needed to reconnect to the small-scale, individual impact that drives many of us to keep working for change. And we’d love for you to come experience some of that power to change, power to learn, and power to heal through our programs, volunteer days, and just spending some time outside seeing what’s growing.