In the words of Kermit the Frog, “It’s not easy being green.” But, Grammy Award Winning artist CeeLo Green and his sister Shedonna Alexander have together co-founded the GreenHouse Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to help make “green education” easier and accessible to students in underserved school districts.
The GreenHouse Foundation will educate, inspire and influence children to become responsible stewards of their environment, communities and future.
Officially launching on August 17th in Atlanta, GA, this sibling team will dedicate their first “teaching GreenHouse” in memory of their late mother Sheila J. Callaway Tyler. The dedication will take place on the campus of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, a “GreenHouse School Partner”, where CeeLo attended elementary school.
The GreenHouse Foundation is an extension of CeeLo and Shedonna’s long family legacy of philanthropy. They grew up surrounded by great role models – their maternal grandmother Ruby Callaway Robinson and mother Sheila J. Callaway Tyler. Ruby started a nationally recognized non-profit organization “Comprehensive Auxiliary for Southwest Community on Alcohol and Drug Education” (CASCADE) that focused on drug-prevention and education in underprivileged communities. She initiated the nationwide “Just Say No” kids march in May 1986, which drew over five million participants and achieved broad and tremendous support, including recognition from former First Lady Nancy Reagan and Soliel Moon Fry aka “Punkie Brewster”. Their late mother Sheila followed in her mother’s footsteps, serving as one of the first female firefighters with the Atlanta Fire Department, plus years of other volunteer work throughout the community.
The youth are our future leaders, so CeeLo and Shedonna recognize the importance of empowering children to love and protect the planet. As a result, the GreenHouse Foundation’s first initiative is the “Green Garden Education Program,” which will offer schools an opportunity to become “GreenHouse School Partners” and start making their green footprint. Through this program, the GreenHouse Foundation will build outdoor green gardens on campuses and introduce “green education” into their everyday curriculum, teaching children the importance of “being green”.
“The Green Garden program will use outdoor gardening as an innovative tool to teach math and science. It will allow students to experience a new approach to “green education,” states co-founder Shedonna Alexander. “We are committed to the mission to empower children with the knowledge, attitude and desire to positively influence their futures, their communities and the long-term sustainability of their planet.”
The University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension service for Atlanta’s Fulton County is playing a key role in the GreenHouse Foundation’s education and community outreach. UGA Cooperative Extension extends lifelong learning to the people of Georgia through unbiased, research-based education in agriculture, the environment, communities, youth and families. As part of the GreenHouse School Partnership and Green Garden Education Program, they are providing curriculum support through their agricultural and family sciences programs.
“Through the Green Garden Education Program, the GreenHouse Foundation is supporting schools with the tools, curriculum, and resources necessary to create and maintain an outdoor ‘teaching garden’. With the garden as the primary focus, children will learn the fundamentals of gardening along with the health and environmental benefits of growing their own produce. Children will also learn how to start and manage their own school farmers market,” explains co-founder CeeLo Green. “The hands of our children will help feed those in need, like the homeless or elderly who live in ‘grocery deserts’ with no access to fresh produce.”
In the future, the GreenHouse Foundation plans to launch other initiatives such as “The School Waste Diversion Initiative”, which will provide schools with waste receptacles to divert non-biodegradable waste from local landfills and create a local competition among the schools. Annually on Earth Day, they will start “The Clean Atlanta Green Day” to unify the city’s local businesses, schools and government officials to collectively clean up the City of Atlanta. Another key initiative will be the launch of “The GreenHouse Community Gardens Program”, which will take the concept of their on-campus “school gardens” to the next level by adopting land around Atlanta to develop organic community gardens maintained by volunteers. Additionally, the GreenHouse Foundation will also create a “Green Collar Career Development & Training Program” that will introduce and educate students on jobs that impact our environment. As the foundation grows larger, it will also offer students the opportunity to earn the “Green Career College Scholarship” based on academic performance. Teach Green, See Green, Live Green – GreenHouse Foundation.