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Background and Rationale

  • Teens that grow up in poor, blighted neighborhoods are at risk for a variety of negative outcomes, including poor health.1
  • In Philadelphia and many other urban communities, disparities in race, income, and education impact access to and consumption of fresh, healthy foods.2
  • Youth development programs (YDP) have grown as a viable solution to ameliorate negative outcomes among at-risk youth.3
  • Community gardens have been introduced in many urban environments to address issues of food insecurity.4

Teens 4 Good (T4G) is a youth-led entrepreneurial program that converts vacant city lots into community gardens.

  • T4G was founded in 2005 by the Federation of Neighborhood Centers.

  • The program targets urban at-risk youth attending Philadelphia public high schools.

    T4G Summer Internship:

  • Teens are paid to plant, harvest, and sell produce to local communities.

  • Teens are also involved in designing marketing materials, managing finances, and other business operations.

    Program Goals:

  • Improve leadership skills, self-efficacy, and work readiness skills in youth, empowering them to become healthy young adults, and leaders who give back to their community.

  • Ameliorate income and place barriers to accessing healthy affordable food by converting vacant city lots into community gardens.

    In 2013, 40 teens participated in the 6-week T4G summer internship program (June – August). During this time the study authors conducted a supplemental program evaluation to describe how and to what extent T4G is contributing to Positive Youth Development (PYD), and how and to what extent T4G is impacting teens’ families and the community.


Presented at College of Physicians Student poster session.