My name is Whitnye Long Jones. I am the Founder and Executive Director of Organic Connects, Inc. and I love nature! Many of us are well aware that there are a number of effective youth environmental programs that currently exist and some that could be improved upon. Nonetheless, we must ask ourselves, is environmentalism a trend that will soon dissipate when the next major movement comes along? If this is the case, what happens to those youth that find solace and direction from a life-changing outdoor experience whether it be recreational, educational, or service-related? Who will help them to continue down the road to exploring and finding their passion in the environmental field once they graduate from high school?
Well, this is exactly what Organic Connects aims to do. Having worked with over 500 youth in the last four years, we've noticed something that happens to our children 95% of the time regardless of race, age, gender, or socioeconomic background. They, too (along with myself), have an instinctual affinity for connecting to nature!
Nature is medicinal. Nature allows us to be ourselves. Nature reminds us that we are a small part of a larger ecosystem, although we have a great impact on how nature interacts with us. This is where accountability and respect come in. But how can we or our youth understand this symbiotic relationship without the proper channels for exposure and opportunity?
Organic Connects wants to fill this niche. By providing avenues that lead to countless areas of expertise within the environmental field, a young person in high school and even college will identify ways to simultaneously earn a living and fulfill their passion. Whether a student wants to study accounting, law, marketing, government relations, hospitality, architecture, engineering, or park maintenance the possibilities are endless!
Please join us on this journey as we continue to expose our youth to these resources while they learn to heal from oppressive societal constructs, become community REIGN Makers, and take the lead as the future green leaders of the world. We look forward to working with you and connecting our youth to nature and positively productive futures.
See you outside!
Whitnye Long Jones
Founder & Executive Director
Camp Journey, Cleveland, OH
Holden Forests & Gardens, Holden Arboretum, Kirtland, OH
Holden Forests and Gardens, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Cleveland, OH
Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland, OH
Cleveland Water Alliance, Cleveland, OH
N Her Nature, Columbus, OH
Ubuntu Cultivators, Cleveland, OH
Cathi Lehn, Ph.D.
City of Cleveland's Office of Sustainability, Cleveland, OH
Sierra Club Ohio Chapter, Columbus, OH