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Youth get confidence & joy from SEEDS

Investing in our youth is not just an investment in the present, but also in the future resilience of our communities. After school programs play a pivotal role in providing safe havens for our youth, fostering learning, life skills, and community ties. It’s no surprise that there’s a high demand for such programs. According to the Michigan Afterschool Partnership, for every child currently enrolled in an after school program, there are four others who would eagerly participate if given the opportunity.


At SEEDS, we recognize and actively address this need. For 15 years, SEEDS EcoSchool has been at the forefront of delivering high-quality after-school programming in Northern Michigan. Our dedicated educators engage students in hands-on activities, often outdoors, cultivating leadership qualities, vital life skills, and resilience. The impact of our work is felt directly within our local communities, touching the lives of youth and their families on a daily basis.

ABOVE: Throwback to when EcoSchool students learned about beekeeping during summer camp in 2022. Izzy, featured in this story, is third from the right.

Take Izzy, for example, an eighth-grader at Benzie Central Middle School, who was just featured in an article about after school programs in Michigan. Over the past three years, she’s been an enthusiastic participant in SEEDS EcoSchool. From exciting field trips to valuable homework assistance and engaging educational activities, Izzy has found a space where learning is not only encouraged but enjoyable. Her mother, Jen McGillivray, has witnessed firsthand the positive transformations in her daughter.

“I love how much joy it brings her. I like how they do education, but it’s fun-based learning. She’s learning, and she doesn’t even realize it.” - Jen McGillivray, EcoSchool parent

ABOVE: Izzy (red hat) and her fellow EcoSchool students gather around a doghouse the students made from recycled materials and donated to the Cherryland Humane Society.

Izzy is just one of hundreds of young people that SEEDS EcoSchool serves annually. Each of these young individuals represents a seed of potential, and through our programs, we nurture and empower them to blossom into resilient members of society.

Investing in and engaging youth is critical for the world today and for the world tomorrow. Youth are the most important stakeholders in the climate change discussion. After all, the future is theirs. 

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation knows that after school programming in Michigan is critical and recently put a spotlight on their importance. Read more stories like Izzy’s about the impact of after school in their article.