Farming and the pride associated with growing – literally and metaphorically – is a powerful way to connect people to something inherently meaningful. Kaima’s vision is to harness the principles of farming and working with one’s hands to improve the lives of high school dropouts, particularly those unable to adapt to conventional indoor, learning frameworks, and reconnect them to a sense of purpose and possibility.
Project Based Learning (PBL) is a student-directed approach to problem solving and new skill acquisition. It is based on the assumption that when young people are directly involved in identifying problems, they are more invested in determining solutions. Paired with adult mentors, participants learn how to research needs which interest them, outline an action plan, present their ideas to a committee, report on their progress, and deliver a product/solution, modeling real-world professional settings and encouraging positive relationships with adults.
When we saw that the time had come to scale up our successful pilot activities with our young Kaima farmers, we approached our friends at the Matanel Foundation to see if they wanted to be a part of this next chapter of our story. With their help, Kaima will have at its disposal a well-equipped onsite workshop to serve as the physical home for all PBL activities and apprenticeships. The program, to be facilitated by technology, design, and artistic professionals, will provide trade/vocational certification for our young farmers who successfully complete our employment training course in the areas of carpentry, welding, engraving, or computer science.