About this Episode
In the last regular episode of the Nutrition Education and Racial Disparities in Health podcast series, our guest is Charlie Uihlein, Executive Director of Milwaukee non-profit organization Teens Grow Greens (TGG). Charlie and his team at TGG focus on teen development through hands-on, experience-based internships. These children often come from low-income families and their family members may have, or are at risk for, chronic conditions due to their living conditions and access to proper nutrition.
TGG teaches kids about the food system, where they learn about how food impacts your mind, body, and spirit. They also learn how to cook the produce they have worked hard to cultivate. Charlie wants to empower students to make sure they believe they can reach their fullest potential, and he strives to provide opportunities for students to build a community amongst these students, while also building different working skills to set them up for success after high school.
We talk with Charlie about the goals set for each intern, the careers and academic experiences the interns move on to later in life, and the abstract skills each teen learns through the hands-on experience of planting and harvesting food.
About Our Guest
Charlie Uihlein, Executive Director, Teens Grow Greens
“I was not a ‘good student’ in high school. Like many teenagers, I didn’t have a sense of purpose and didn’t believe in myself. Perhaps that’s what drew me to teaching – wanting to provide youth with direction and experience with success. However, after teaching for three years at an urban Milwaukee high school, I still didn’t have an answer to the question, ‘How can teenagers feel successful and gain a sense of purpose in their world?’
Then I spent a summer teaching experiential education in nature. It was here that I saw students become self-directed and aware all through the students being put in the driver’s seat. Not long after, my wife and I founded Teens Grow Greens. This is what I was meant to do.”