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BROOKSIDE MOBILE HOME PARK’S YOUTH GARDEN PROJECT KICKS OFF ON GLOBAL YOUTH SERVICE DAY

Youth-Led Project Addresses Environmental Awareness in STARKSBORO, VT as Part of Global Youth Service Day

Photo Source: VAHC, April 16, 2011 – Group picture Flickr Photo Stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/61882344@N07/sets/72157626526326198/show/ STARKSBORO, VT – APRIL 16, 2011 – Through the efforts of community partners Brookside Mobile Home Park in Starksboro, VT was awarded a $500 Disney’s Friends for Change Grant from YSA (Youth Service America) to build three raised-bed gardens on April 16th in celebration of Global Youth Service Day. The Disney Friends for Change Grant is awarded to support youth-led projects encouraging kids, families and communities to work together to make a positive change in their world. The community partners for this project include; Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition/AmeriCorps *VISTA, Brookside Resident Association, UVM CDAE & the Master Gardner’s Association, and Addison County Community Trust. The Brookside Garden received one of 20 grants awarded in the United States; Global Youth Service Day is the world’s largest and longest-running youth-led service campaign. 16 youth and 11 adult community members came together to build the three raised-bed gardens; this community group built these gardens to provide a summer education program engaging the youth in Brookside. Representative David Sharpe stopped by during the event to meet with the kids and offer his support for the project and Brookside Mobile Home Park. This garden will provide excellent learning opportunities and will promote environmental stewardship, healthy eating, community service, and physical fitness for the kids. This project would not have been possible if not for the community support it received. There was approximately $250 worth of in-kind donations made available by local organizations: RK Miles, Cubber’s Pizza, Leslie Rubliee Farm, Martin’s Hardware, CV Compost and P & P Lumber. The overwhelming support from these organizations made this project possible. The reward was 12 extremely engaged and happy kids on the day of the event and the potential to impact nearly 50 kids who live in the park during the summer program. The garden project at Brookside will continue with planting days throughout the spring and then the  summer education programming will run throughout the summer. This programming will be provided by an AmeriCorps *VISTA through Vermont Youth Tomorrow serving at Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition. Disney’s Friends for Change (www.disney.com/projectgreen) is a program created to inspire kids and families to join together and make a positive impact on their world (and the people and animals that live there).  The grants offer youth needed resources to bring environmental initiatives to life and inspire change within their local communities. “These grants were extremely competitive, but Brookside Mobile Home Park Youth Garden exemplified the goals of the Disney’s Friends for Change program,” said Steve Culbertson, President and CEO of Youth Service America. “Young people in Starksboro, VT want to make a difference, and Disney’s Friends for Change Grant, in coordination with YSA (Youth Service America), offers them the resources needed to make a positive, measurable impact on their community.” Now in its 23rd year, Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) engages millions of young people via partnerships with schools, youth development, community, and faith-based organizations. Events are currently planned in more than 100 countries and in all 50 states, addressing the most challenging local, national and global issues facing the world including health, literacy, childhood hunger and the environment. “Kids and families are at the heart of everything we do at Disney.  We strive to partner with and inspire the next generation to improve the planet’s future by using creativity, arts and problem-­solving to make a difference through Disney’s Friends for Change Grants,” said Leslie Goodman, senior vice president, Corporate Citizenship, The Walt Disney Company. For more information about Brookside Mobile Home Park Youth Garden Project, contact Santina Leporati at the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition. For more information about YSA (Youth Service America) and Global Youth Service Day (GYSD), visit www.YSA.org.

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Disney’s Friends for Change is a multiplatform initiative that helps inspire kids and families to join together and make a positive impact on their world (and the people and animals that live there).  Through PSAs on-air and online tool-kits, the program aims to provide useful information to help kids make small changes that add up to big differences.  As part of the program, Disney donates $1 million dollars annually to fund projects all around the globe and has funded over 41 projects that help the planet ranging from educational & community programs to species & habitat protection.  Friends for Change currently has over 3 million actions taking place from kids in 33 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Japan, India, and China.  .  Kids can join online at www.Disney.com/projectgreen . Youth Service America (YSA) improves communities by increasing the number and the diversity of young people, ages 5-25, serving in substantive roles. Founded in 1986, YSA supports a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership, and achievement. The impact of YSA’s work through service and service-learning is measured in student achievement, workplace readiness, and healthy communities. For more information, visit www.YSA.org. CONTACT: Diane Dray 818-567-5384 The Walt Disney Company diane.dray@disney.com Jen Voss Youth Service America 202-650-5064 jvoss@ysa.org

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