Click to View Latest IssueClick to View Latest Issue

Inspiring Kansas City’s Future Leaders: Green Works in Kansas City

By  0 Comments

Many organizations admirably focus on the emergency needs of our local children and adolescents, providing food, shelter or counseling. Green Works in Kansas City focuses on prevention, working to grow students’ personal resiliency by helping them develop a connection with nature, explore STEM and careers with an environmental focus, and develop workforce and entrepreneurial skills.

Founded in 2007 by Kate Corwin, Green Works in Kansas City’s overarching goal is to help vulnerable youth improve their resiliency and social and physical well-being through experiences with environmental science, outdoor classrooms, service projects, career exploration, workplace training, internships and work experiences. Through this integrative process, we empower youth to care for our environment, contribute to our economy and create healthy communities.

Nature Connection Programming
According to the Children and Nature Network, “Over the past few generations, childhood has moved indoors. On average, today’s kids spend up to 44 hours per week in front of a screen and less than 10 minutes a day playing outdoors. And for too many kids, regular and safe access to nature is determined by race, income, identity, ability and postal code.” All of this leads to what’s known as nature deficit disorder. Green Works is working to combat this through its ECOS, or Environmental Connection Opportunities for Students, program, which provides safe and fun experiences outdoors for urban kids grades 4th-8th, many of whom would otherwise not be able to enjoy nature. Research shows that spending time in nature enhances creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving; improves relationship skills, focus and impulse control; and reduces stress, anger and aggression. Jorge, an ECOS student, wrote the following in his journal, “Before ECOS, I would play video games at home when I needed to get my mind off of stuff that was bothering me. But now I’m more likely to go for a walk and visit the park down the street from my house. Being out in nature calms me down.”  

Career Exploration and Sustainable Business Programming
Middle schoolers take part in an ECO Career Camp, which exposes them to a variety of working professionals, field science, water quality and climate activities. Motivated young adults gain workforce and entrepreneurial skills by working in Green Works’ social enterprise, The Perennial Bee, where they manufacture sustainable products and learn marketing, customer service, in-person and online sales; and educate community members about making better environmental choices.  

The dedicated staff at Green Works has training in trauma and emotional health to better reach kids who come to the programs, some of whom have suffered trauma, all of whom are still dealing with the impact of the pandemic. Over time, the students who come into the fold of Green Works find a source of caring adults who help spur their sense of discovery toward themselves and the world around them, and hope for their future.

Support for Programming
If you would like more information about helping Green Works in Kansas City to provide critical prevention programs for Kansas City’s future leaders, please visit, email or visit our Facebook page.

Visit for The Perennial Bee’s store hours. The social enterprise retail store offers eco-friendly products, gifts and more. You’ll also find a link for online sales. All proceeds benefit Green Works’ programming. Organizations or individuals are welcome to host events, free of charge, at the Green Works space and adjoining social enterprise to introduce their members and friends to Green Works.