UT Elementary Awarded $100,000 State Farm Grant to Launch Community Garden

The University of Texas Elementary School (UTES) has received a $100,000 grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB) to plant a community garden that will serve the surrounding East Austin neighborhood.

As one of only five recipients in Texas and 68 nationally awarded a YAB grant, UT Elementary School students will partner with neighboring businesses, households and local gardening groups to develop and grow the garden as a collaborative service project. UTES will incorporate enrichment opportunities in the areas of STEM, fitness, wellness and multicultural arts studies to promote college readiness and community service.

"We are thrilled to be a recipient of the State Farm YAB grant," said Kelly Mullin, director of academic programming. "Providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel academically and act as solutions-focused citizens and community advocates is essential to their growth. This grant allows our students to share their learning and work as partners with our local community."

"Since its founding this school has operated with the mission to serve East Austin residents, and model best practices to other districts throughout Texas," said Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement. "It is gratifying to know this grant support will expand staff efforts to educate students and the community on the benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle and good eating habits at every life stage."

"State Farm is proud to support UTES' community garden project because it integrates community service into classroom curriculum," said Amelia Folkes, a State Farm spokeswoman. "The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a prime example of State Farm's commitment to education, our community and our youth."

"At a time when our youth are being challenged on every front I commend the collaborative efforts of all the stakeholders in promoting health and wellness," said Austin Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole.

About UT Elementary School: Now in its 10th year of operation, UT Elementary is an open-enrollment campus, free to East Austin students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, with a lottery-based admission system. The school, a part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin, draws upon a variety of intellectual resources available at the university to serve 300 students. To learn more, visit www.utelementary.org.

About the Youth Advisory Board: The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a diverse group of 30 youths, ages 17-20, chosen through a competitive process to lead and oversee this $5 million per year signature service-learning initiative. Youth Board members issue the competitive grants and provide technical assistance, communication and oversight to site grantees. Since 2006, YAB has awarded more than $24 million in grants nationwide. State Farm is the largest U.S. auto insurance provider. Interested in the Youth Board? Apply at www.statefarmyab.com.