L.E.A.F. ideals impact local community

Truman Heberlig, Reporter

Many students have jobs over the summer where they get paid to do simple tasks, but they may never really impact their community positively. L.E.A.F, however, is a non-profit organization based in Carlisle which employs youth from 14-18 from surrounding school districts for the summer. Heidi Whitmoyer is the founder of L.E.A.F. and her reason behind starting L.E.A.F. was to strengthen her community.  “I have wanted to do this since I was a child because I have a dream where individuals can make a strong community through agriculture.”

It gives youth an opportunity to learn skills that will help individuals more in a future job, like culinary, agriculture and community support. The employees work Monday through Friday, and on Tuesdays individuals learn how to cook and prepare meals. Those healthy meals prepared by the workers are served to about 100 people at the Salvation Army. “Those youth involved in the program develop a sense of pride from their work, and also get to see proper ways of planting on a farm and how that leads to a dinner table.” said Madison Albright, an employee of L.E.A.F. for the past two years and student at Big Spring High School. She said,”I have made friends that I can rely on forever.”

Second year L.E.A.F.members are put into a leadership position, and are given more opportunity  to show off their skills. Prince Gaye, a second year member and junior at Carlisle High School, said, “At L.E.A.F. I felt like I had respect to lead them anywhere else.” Gaye was a typical high school student who was new to the agriculture side of the program but since he joined L.E.A.F. he grew to enjoy the way he affected the community changed how he looked on what his effect of the community was. There were also crew leaders who were college students who applied for the position. One of the crew leaders was a second year member who went to college after her first year so she was able to become a crew leader her second year. Crystal Van was a Carlisle High School graduate and she attends Temple University. The first year Van joined was because she would be doing something similar to the major she was going to which was architecture. Over the course over her first year of college she decided to change her major to business so her second year that she joined as a crew leader she wanted to a bigger part of the financial part of the program. So it shows how close everyone is because of the community within L.E.A.F. itself that people want to join it the following year also.

To be a part of this program, visit leafproject.com in April to May.