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Yonkers Honors Leake & Watts Youth Gardeners

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and City Council members honored kids at the Leake & Watts Residential Treatment Center for accomplishments in the ninth annual Harvest Awards ceremony.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and City Council members honored kids at the Leake & Watts Residential Treatment Center for accomplishments in the ninth annual Harvest Awards ceremony. Photo Credit: Courtesy Leake & Watts

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and the City Council honored Leake & Watts Youth Gardeners at a celebration of the annual fall harvest, according to a news release.

Leake & Watts and the Food Bank of Westchester hosted Spano, City Council President Chuck Lesnick, and City Council Members Wilson Terrero and Michael Sabatino at the youth garden recently, according to the release. Food grown at Leake & Watts is distributed to "thousands of children and families in need throughout Westchester County" in partnership with the Food Bank of Westchester, according to the release.

During the celebration, Spano presented awards to teens at the Leake & Watts Residential Treatment Center, "recognizing their achievements in the Youth Gardening and Employment Readiness Program," according to the release. Spano and the City Council members also "recognized the impressive efforts of the teens whose efforts throughout the spring and summer have make this year’s harvest another tremendous success," according to the release.

Leake & Watts and the Food Bank for Westchester Youth Gardens have provided about 8,000 to 10,000 one-cup servings of food for nearly 1,500 "food-insecure families" in the county each year for the past two years, according to the release.

"This year, our Youth Gardeners have continued to increase their efforts and have produced 12,000 servings of food," representatives said in the release. "No less important, the Youth Gardens give at-risk youth at Leake & Watts the opportunity to learn important employment readiness skills and experience the value of community service."

Leake & Watts Executive Director Alan Mucatel said watching the students was exciting.

“It is exciting to see our students take ownership of the garden and witness the pride that they feel as they see the literal fruits of their efforts when they harvest all the watermelons, tomatoes and other vegetables from the garden,” said Mucatel in the release. “Most of the kids we serve are all too accustomed to being on the receiving end of community service. It is an extremely empowering and important experience for them to be able to give back and make such a positive impact on their local community.”

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