Pay It Forward: Jen Dillman With Gen-H Kids
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) —
Each month we honor a person in our community who gives without asking for anything in return.
It's called Pay It Forward.
You nominate a deserving person and we, along with Hy-Vee, award them with a $500 gift card.
This month's winner is devoted to improving the health of children in our community.
Lindsey Hess introduces us to Gen-H Kids Executive Director Jen Dillman.
Nestled behind Southeast High School is a garden with eight beds for growing fruits and vegetables.
"This fall we built the beds and then we added the compost in the spring, and now we actually have stuff planted so it just kind of started as having this idea of having the kids use fresh produce in the culinary class," said Kayla Worker, family and consumer science teacher at Southeast High School.
That idea became reality with the help of Gen H Kids.
The organization currently oversees 15 school and community gardens.
"We use the produce from the gardens to go and teach families how to cook with it and how to incorporate real fruits and vegetables into their diets," said Jen Dillman, Executive Director of Gen H Kids.
The kids at Southeast High School are learning what it takes to grow their own food.
"i think that they're learning that it's a lot of work. They're used to going to Hy-Vee and picking the pepper off the shelf. But then they're also learning about the workers and the farmers that are growing it and gives them an appreciation of the food that they're eating every day," said Dillman.
For all Dillman and her staff do to help create a generation of healthy kids, we're paying it forward.
Hard work that's being recognized across the community.
"She's done a great job reaching everybody in Springfield," said Kyle Thornsbrough, Hy-Vee store director.
"I mean, it's blood, swear and tears. They put in so much time and so much effort into helping the community."