Foundation invests $250,000 in kids making social change

9NEWS at 6 p.m. 9/28/16.

DENVER - All around Denver, something is growing and it includes the Greenleaf Community Garden and students like Jesus Bujanda.

"These were just like a couple of seeds and it turned into a whole bed full of beans," Jesus said.

He is a freshman at North High School in Denver. But, he is also part of a nonprofit effort called Greenleaf working with other students from around Denver.

"Our mission is food justice and to get affordable food to people with low income," Jesus said.

Greenleaf is just one of ten student groups from the around the metro area rewarded by the Rose Community Foundation and its project called "Innovate for Good". Sarah Indyk is the director of special projects for the Rose Community Foundation. She says this is the first time the foundation has focused on kids and their ideas.

"They all empower youth to really understand their skills and abilities and use them to help make their community, their neighborhood, a better place," Indyk said.

Jesus says Greenleaf will make change by teaching low income families how to save money and eat healthy.

"We just won a grant and so with that money. we're going to give gardens into people's houses and teach them how to use it and grow healthy food that they could hopefully live off of," Jesus said.

The Rose Community Foundation wants to grow social change through efforts like Greenleaf. Jesus and his fellow students won $30,000 out of a total of $250,000 in grants distributed to the ten winning groups out of 65 who applied.

"Giving them both financial support but also some tools and some training to help them make their projects happen," Indyk said.

She says the other projects include ideas such as supporting senior citizens, teaching refugee kids to act as interpreters for their communities, and efforts to stop what is called the "School to Jail Pipeline".

"They really run the gamut and I think reflect the perspective of young people and their awareness of what their community, what their neighborhood really needs," Indyk said.

Indyk says the foundation wants to support kids' ideas for social change and give them the means to make it possible.

"I think it's going to work," Jesus said.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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