West Central nonprofit Project Hope is celebrating its 10th year with a new name and an expanded mission.
Project Hope is now River City Youth Ops and invites teens from all over Spokane to join its summer programs.
Executive Director James Kashork said the name reflects the expanded program.
“We kept hearing from other neighborhoods that wanted something like Project Hope,” Kashork said. “Now we will give it a shot.”
River City Youth Ops operates Riverfront Farms, a garden project that is staffed by youths between 11 and 18 years old. Youths who join the program get job training while growing fruits and vegetables that are then sold at the farmers markets.
River City Youth Ops also runs West Central Lawn Care.
“I hope people from all over Spokane will think of us if they need lawn care,” Kashork said.
A new product line that includes made-from-scratch Liege waffles, gourmet salts, and flavored olive oil and vinegar will be added to the farmers market stands this spring.
“It’s important that people meet our kids at the markets,” Kashork said. “We can tell you about them, but they do a much better job talking about themselves.”
Last year, more than 75 youths provided more than 10,000 hours of work and grew more than 4 tons of vegetables that were sold at the markets.
River City Youth Ops will be at the Kendall Yards market on Wednesday evenings, the Thursday Market on South Perry Street, the Emmerson-Garfield market Friday evenings and the Spokane Farmers Market on Saturdays.
Kashork, who joined the organization in 2014, said the goal is to become self-sustainable.
“We hope the new products will help us make some money,” Kashork said.