Community Youth Development

What We Do

Community Youth Development:

  • Partners with community-based organizations
  • Includes youth voice in decision-making processes
  • Measures organizational, adult, and youth outcomes

In Community Youth Development, we aim to:

  • Increase capacity of organizations and broaden impact
  • Reach underserved audiences and have more inclusive public policy
  • Demonstrate the broad impact of our work to our partners and the public

Community Youth Development builds capacity of organizations through training, curriculum development, consulting, organizing, connecting, convening, evaluating, and occasionally operating pilot program efforts. 


What We Offer

Current Programs: 

Growing Connections Program

The Growing Connections Program is built on youth participation in three educational approaches: 

  1. Youth-led gardening education and food production
  2. Youth leadership  development focused on action planning and community leadership, 
  3. Youth-centered exploration of workforce pathways at the community and individual levels.  

This happens in partnership with two community-based partners:  Milwaukee Christian Center and TransCenter for Youth.  Growing Connections engages youth between the ages of 14 and 18 at gardens both in their community and at the educational hub at Kohl Farm.

Youth are employed by the program during the summer months and work with local educators, gardeners, artists, and community leaders to develop and maintain their growing spaces, create and install art pieces, and explore their communities.  Youth voice is central to the development, implementation, and evaluation of the program, and youth are engaged at every level of programming.  

For more information, contact Leslie Quevedo,

Capacity Building

The Community Youth Development program seeks to add value and build capacity with community-based partners that are engaged with youth programming.  We do this by identifying needs, gaps and opportunities in staff development, programming and resources.  We partner to seek funding that provides programmatic and organizational support.  Since 2019, we have secured nearly $675,000 in funding that goes directly to Extension and the Growing Connections partners.  

We provide opportunities for staff development, and topics include youth development, STEM programming and youth mental health first aid.  Finally, we provide research-based programming and expertise that add value to programming and spaces.  Most recently, we are converting an underutilized and neglected community garden into a welcoming, clean and healthy garden space that will be utilized by participants in the Growing Connections program and their families.

Extension Milwaukee County has a revenue generation requirement in our annual county budget.  We meet part of this requirement through fee-for-service programs.  We can customize research-based programs based on your needs.  Our current rate for customized developing and implementing programs is $75/hour per educator. For more information please contact Leslie Quevedo,