Cashawn Myers

Westside Innovation Fellow 2016

Habesha

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Mission

HABESHA’s mission is to cultivate leadership in youth and families through practical experiences in cultural education, sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurship, holistic health and technology.

Summary

HABESHA is a Pan-African organization that offers intergenerational programming for sustainable communities. The organization promotes the values of Pan-Africanism, leadership development, and sustainability. It’s programming offers African-American children insight into African history and culture from across the Diaspora, opportunities to participate in civic engagement projects, and curriculum on leading an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. HABESHA also offers programming that focuses on bridging the intergenerational gap via agriculture in an effort to strengthen community. During their fellowship, the HABESHA team created a 6-week pilot that included two independent sessions with youth, six independent sessions with seniors, and two intergenerational sessions between the groups. Activities included making biodegradable plant plots, planting, storytelling, intergenerational interviews, and field trips.

Experience

HABESHA Inc. was formed in 2002 under the leadership of the organization’s Executive Director, Cashawn Myers. As a Clark Atlanta University graduate student, Myers was inspired by a professor’s remarks concerning the lack of positive opportunities for youth living in public housing units neighboring the university’s campus. This occurrence convinced Myers to start a summer cultural enrichment program called Plant a CEAD, (Cultural Enrichment and Academic Development). The program later evolved into the Black to our Roots program (see more details below). From this base, the organization expanded its activities to include education and awareness around sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurship, holistic health and technology. HABESHA’s success has led to the establishment of an affiliate branch in Baltimore as well as the Atlanta-based HABESHA Gardens Complex. The work of the organization has also been featured on Georgia Public Broadcasting and CNN

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