The Grow Academy - Oregon, Wisconsin
In 2014, the Division of Juvenile Corrections opened the Grow Academy, a residential program offering comprehensive treatment for County and State supervised youth as an alternative to incarceration as well as a step down for youth returning to the community.
The Grow Academy offers an array of evidence-based services consisting of an agriculturally-based educational curriculum, cognitive development programming, career exploration, case management services including individual and family counseling services, tele-psychiatry and other identified treatment needs, as well as engagement in community partnerships to strengthen the youth's transition back to the community.
Grow Academy Brochure
Residence by youth at the Grow Academy is usually 120 days on average. The Grow Academy has a capacity of 12 males with a target age range of 14 – 18 years old.
Youth referrals may come as a result of:
- Court ordered participation via the Experiential Education Program, s. 938.34(7g).
- Stayed correctional court orders, s. 938.34(16).
- Direct placements, where youth are released to the community for participation in the Grow Academy after 21 days in reception at Lincoln Hills School.
- A step-down from Lincoln Hills School (All placements are on court orders).
- As an alternative to revocation (ATR), or return to Lincoln Hills School, as appropriate.
Information is available on the Grow Academy's referral process, and acceptance criteria. The Grow Academy can also be contacted directly at GrowAcademy@wisconsin.gov.
To ensure community protection, high-quality care, and youth accountability and competency building, DJC will work with a coalition of partners. These include:
- UW Extension
- Madison Area Technical College
- Madison-area Community Action Coalition
- UW Madison
- Community GroundWorks
Together these partners will provide services and supplemental curricula in horticulture, aqua-ponics, nutrition education, gardening, compositing, poultry, and employment readiness.
Youth will not only learn valuable skills from working with these organizations, but will also donate products grown on-site to local food pantries and sell products to local purchasers.
Project Examples and Program Components
- Organic vegetable farming
- Aqua-ponic technology for seedling growth
- Horticulture therapy
- Raising small farm animals
- Nutrition, including meal planning, meal preparation, and cooking
- ServSafe® certification
- Marketing and sales skill development
- Firsthand experience selling organic produce at local farmers’ markets
- Restorative justice and community service through donations made to local food pantries
- Financial literacy
- High school credit in a project based learning experience
- Job readiness and employment placement
- Cognitive intervention programming