Youth members are included in all aspects of planning this event, said Saldivar. This includes establishing partnerships, working with the farmers and volunteering at the farmers market itself.
“Through planning and creating [the farmers market], youth learned many skills,” said Michi Heckler, the temporary public health youth program specialist for 78744 CYD. “Some of which were positive and detailed communication, planning, time management and responsibility.”
Heckler joined before the second farmers market, said Saldivar. Due to COVID-19, this event was adjusted to meet safety guidelines.
“Youth and [I] had to figure out how to still deliver a needed service to this community within the safety guidelines of the city and state,” said Heckler. “Everyone wore masks, it became a drive-thru format and some COVID-19 safety resources in the to-go bags were included.”
Programs like 78744 CYD teaches youth to be leaders and advocates for their community, said Saldivar.
“Talk to the community [and] the youth [to] see what is needed,” said Saldivar. “When you have an idea of what is needed and wanted, the passion comes from that.”
Local youth should be included when planning a community-based program, said Saldivar.
“They are the ones that will be the ones to grow up in the community and possibly raise their families one day,” said Saldivar. “They need to understand what is going on and be part of the positive movements forward.”
Saldivar recommends starting small when coming up with a new project or program involving youth.
“Give them chances to shine, focus on their strengths, let them figure things out and when they fail, allow them too and be there to guide their recovery from the failure.”