Join us in celebrating and fundraising for Huneebee Project and our extraordinary youth beekeepers in residence! Huneebee Project provides job-skill building within a therapeutic context, as well as active honey bee hives and pollinator-friendly green spaces to vacant lots and gardens in New Haven, Connecticut. All proceeds directly support program development and employment opportunities for youth with foster care or child protective involvement.
Our beekeepers in residence are youth ages 15-23 from New Haven county with diverse interests and identities and backgrounds. They contribute to the installation and maintenance of honey bee colonies as well as the planting of pollinator-friendly green spaces. At the same time, clinical social workers and mentors support our youth beekeepers in identifying transferrable job skills, resume development, and building body and emotional awareness through mindfulness practices.
To date, we have graduated our first cohort of 5 youth beekeepers in residence, employed 3 as peer instructors and garden site managers, and inaugurated a second cohort of 5 youth beekeepers in residence! This could NOT be possible without YOU and everyone who has shown up to be a champion for our youth, under-resourced communities, and honeybee friends.
We need YOU - your encouragement, support, and bee-lief - to help us make our launch in July 2019 official in becoming a self-sustaining social enterprise. We want to show that we can all serve together and prove to this world that WE ALL can in fact power and drive SO MUCH GOOD. Our beekeepers in residence are fierce and courageous and funny. Artistic and handy and gentle. Talented and determined and ready to share it all with our communities!
What's next for Huneebee Project?
In time, income generated through our online retail shop and community market places will fund programming, employment of peer instructors and graduates, and beekeepers in residence stipends. Our online retail shop will offer locally harvested honey from the colonies we maintain (through sustainable and natural beekeeping methods), candles constructed from beeswax harvested from the extra honey frame cappings, gardening tools and supplies, and local vases and pottery.
For more on who we are and what we do:
Huneebee Project involves youth between the ages of 15-23 with foster care involvement, child protective involvement, and/or developmental trauma histories in 4-month-long therapeutic Beekeepers in Residence job-skills training programs. The Project partners with the New Haven Land Trust and adds honey bee hives and pollinator friendly green spaces to community gardens or vacant lots in under-resourced neighborhoods in New Haven, Connecticut.
At each garden site or vacant lot, participants experience workshops on sustainable beekeeping practices. Youth beekeepers in residence build, paint, and install honey bee hives, monitor food levels, and address issues of pest control using natural methods.
Each participant graduates the program with an increased capacity for relationship building, increased sense of self efficacy and empowerment, an understanding of the role of the honey bee in nature and the many benefits of pollinators, and a completed resume. In addition to the opportunities made available to program participants, communities in which the gardens or lots live are invited to take part in various seminars and workshops hosted at the garden sites. Some examples of offered seminars and workshops include: beekeeping demonstrations, honey tasting, building bee hotels for wild & solitary bees, and talks on medicinal, pollinator-friendly plants and herbs. In addition to empowering and supporting our youth, Huneebee Project seeks to foster community building, collaboration, and kinship.
We envision a world that leverages the power of relationships and self-worth to increase resiliency and healthy human development. We believe there is no better way to do this than a social enterprise that facilitates kinship, mutuality with nature, mentorship, future oriented conversations, and development of valuable, soft skills. We want to increase collaboration amongst community members in achieving shared goals and visions for our youth, and to do so in a way that supports our environment, nature, and the bees. There are no "beneficiaries": we all serve together and we all benefit together.
Huneebee Project is led by a team of 3 beekeepers, 1 photographer, 2 peer instructors, and 4 clinical social workers. The project collaborates with multiple community partners, including the Yale Child Study Center, New Haven Land Trust, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, and Community Placemaking Engagement Network. Our volunteers and partners have experience addressing mental health needs of children and young adults, promoting social justice, and promoting sustainable, natural beekeeping practices and education on pollination to address the declining population of honey bees.
Additional opportunities for program graduates:
We hire Beekeepers in Residence graduates to fill a multitude of integral roles, including garden site managers and peer instructors! Employed graduates continue to receive supportive, on the job training, contribute to programming decision making, participate in community bee panels and awareness raising initiatives, harvest honey, craft beeswax products, and contribute to a welcoming, safe space for new participants.
*Please, join us, support us, grow with us, and bee-come a part of our huneebee family!*
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk and challenge relates to the bees themselves. Colony Collapse Disorder is real! And with unexpected weather patterns come further unexpected obstacles for the bees and their honey production. Thankfully, with enough support, we'll be in a position to add enough hives to our gardens to account for potential bee and honey losses.
Another potential challenge would be the blessing of support. If we were to receive an extraordinary amount of pledges, then the packaging time would increase, which could potentially result in delays. We have a superstar team, thankfully, and will pull out all the moves to minimize or prevent such delays from happening.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)