Growing Futures

Growing Futures

Trees Forever’s Growing Futures teen employment program takes a unique approach to caring for our community’s trees. Through Growing Futures, teams of high schoolers are employed to help grow and care for our tree canopy while also learning about the world around them and the potential within themselves.

Growing Futures has a powerful social and environmental impact because the program prioritizes underserved neighborhoods; neighborhoods that research shows already lack tree cover and are in need of dedicated resources. Healthy trees reduce stormwater, clean the air, save energy, create beauty, and even provide us with mental and physical well-being. Together, we have the opportunity to employ young people, and build the whole person through career readiness opportunities, so that we all reap the benefits.

Through Growing Futures, teams of seven to ten teenagers plant, water and care for trees in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, with the goal to expand Growing Futures to other communities. With adult supervision and training, these teenagers learn new skills that will position them to be future leaders in the community.

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Throughout the spring, summer and fall, Growing Future Teammates will:

  • Plant, water and prune trees
  • Mulch and stake trees
  • Grow the urban forest
  • Build job experience
  • Improve professional skills

Teammates take part in various professional development trainings throughout the season that may include:

  • Resume building
  • Financial literacy
  • Job shadowing
  • Green careers
  • Tree identification
  • First aid training