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For These Teens, A Unique Beekeeping Program Teaches About Much More Than Honey

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Started by clinical social worker Sarah Taylor in 2018, the Huneebee Project is a therapeutic job skills training program that has graduated 25 cohorts, including Roman, from the 15-week program over the past five years. It’s also installed roughly 30 honey bee colonies across seven sites in the greater New Haven area, planted pollinator-friendly garden plots and launched an online marketplace that sells honey made from the hives, candles and a curated selection of other artisan products.

Participants range in age from 15 to 23, and the project prioritizes enrolling children and young adults with past or present child protective and foster care involvement.  

Taylor had long dreamed of creating a nonprofit for youth who are aging out of the foster care system. But it wasn’t until she took time for herself that she realized the therapeutic potential of beekeeping. Burnt out and disheartened with the foster care and child protective services systems, Taylor started keeping her own bees while working and attending a fellowship program in New Haven. 

“After a day of work, the only place I wanted to be was with my bees,” says Taylor. “It became a meditative practice for me. They’re their own form of therapy.”

The Huneebee Project became Taylor’s opportunity to combine her love of beekeeping with her professional background. 

The students are responsible for about 30 hives, although they are working on expanding to 50 hives by the end of summer 2023 across seven official garden sites in New Haven neighborhoods where the youth live. They also now have community hive checks where locals can join in checking on and learning about bees. It’s one more place to create a network and sense of community for the teens and the bees.


Read the rest here.

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