Open Hands Internship for Teens

If you are a teenager between the ages of 15-19, you’re invited to apply for our summer teen internship program. Through this paid educational internship, you will learn gardening, culinary, and community building skills, while making good food accessible to the community.  You’ll receive competitive hourly pay and enhance your resume, college application, or scholarship essays.  You’ll also get to be outdoors and work collaboratively with other interns.  In 2015, you’ll work 175 hours during the season.  The internship runs April 18-August 1 — you’ll work up to 4 hours/week during the school year, and 20 hours/week during the summer.  We are accepting 4 interns this year.


   Application deadline: Admission is rolling through March 15. 
   Admissions deadline:  We will make hiring decisions by March 29.

Click the following links to download the application.
2015 Open Hands Teen Internship Application Form 

Steps to completing the application:
1.) Fill out the form.
2.) Answer the short questions on the next page on a separate piece of paper and attach that page to the application. You may also download the Word document and type in your answers.
3.) Ask one person (no family members please) to write a recommendation letter for you. Your recommender has the following options:
           – Email the letter to
           – Mail the letter to PO Box #138, Cedar Grove, NC 27231

We may also contact you for a follow-up phone interview, if necessary.


 Paid educational internship program at Anathoth Community Farm & Garden.  Teenagers, ages 15-19, learn gardening, culinary, and community building skills while making good food accessible to the community through a Community Supported Agriculture Program called HarvestShare. (Learn more about HarvestShare here.)

WHEN:  April 18-August 1, 2015. Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings (optional)  during the school year, Tuesday-Saturday 9-1 during the summer. 

WHY:  Receive competitive hourly pay, for working up to 175 hours of service out of an available 260 hours throughout the season. You’ll enhance your resume, college application, or scholarship essays.  You’ll have the opportunity to be outdoors and work collaboratively with other interns. 


Could you provide me with a detailed agenda.  Is this every Saturday?  Do you have a list of the dates?  What if you miss 1-2 sessions?

Our agenda will vary day-by-day, according to what needs to be done in the garden, as well as what learning opportunities arise throughout the summer.

Our work hours are open for teens in the program at different times throughout the season. During the school year, we are open on Tuesday evenings from 5-8 pm and Saturday mornings 9 a.m. -1 p.m.; during the summer, we are open from Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.  This way, teens are able to pursue other opportunities in the afternoons during the summer (when it is very hot after 1 pm) and still get the hours they need. (Note: There will also be ongoing community workdays on Tuesday evenings that the teens also are welcome to join.)

We will keep track of hours throughout the season. Each Open Hands intern will need to commit to completing 175 hours, out of the available 252. This means that teens will also have time to take days off, or a week or two off, throughout the season if they need to rest, go on vacation, etc.  

In general, our workdays follow a schedule like this one:

9-9:30: Morning huddle up: a time to put a task list together on the chalk board and delegate the work. The Open Hands crew will work closely with each other and our summer interns, who are college and graduate school-age.
9:30-11: Garden work: planting, weeding, harvesting, packing boxes, mulching, feeding chickens, collecting eggs, etc.
11-11:15: Water break
11:15-12:45: Garden work
12:45-1: Clean up and put tools away.

There will also be times that we play games, stop and learn how to do particular garden tasks together as a group, as well as the philosophy behind why we do things the way we do. And, with parent/guardian permission, Open Hands interns can join the summer interns on afternoon trips to local farms and gardens, or go to Cedar Grove United Methodist Church and can/preserve vegetables in the kitchen.

On Saturdays, the Open Hands crew will put the HarvestShare CSA boxes together that will be distributed around the community. There is also a potluck lunch after the workday on Saturday, and Open Hands interns are encouraged to stay and share, with or without their families.

Who should I get to write a reference letter for me?

We ask that reference letters come from non-relatives only. This includes but is not limited to teachers, coaches, pastors, scout leaders, employers, etc.

Do I qualify if I turn 15 after the program starts?

Yes, but please understand that this program is designated for older teens this season. Therefore, only those who are 15 and older, or are turning 15 before the program ends in August will be considered.

Can I still participate if I have an intellectual or physical disability?

Yes, we are seeking a diverse group of teens this season including those with disabilities. However, we will ask that you provide us with all of the information we need to accommodate your participation, in order to make this experience safe and affirming for everyone. Therefore, please be prepared to give us a detailed information about how we should take your disability into consideration this season (where applicable, i.e. prescriptions, allergies, particular people or situations that might trigger a reaction, and of course emergency contact information).

Can I still participate if I’m graduating from high school this year?

Yes, absolutely, and congratulations. The only caveat is that if you have Fall plans that are not local (i.e college, out-of-town employment), then you will need to complete 175 hours before you leave.


Anathoth has depended on the service of teenagers since day one. Originating as a partnership with  Orange County’s Volunteers for Youth Juvenile Community Services and Restitution Program , which  ”works with young people who have been court ordered to complete community service hours in order to pay back the community for inappropriate behavior,” we have worked to empower youth with the skills and knowledge to make healthy lifestyle choices and be leaders for peace in their own community.                                                                                    

While some of the teens in the Volunteers for Youth program would return to the garden after their mandated service, many would leave and never come back — turnover was constant and consistency was stifled.  In 2008, a generous grant from Heifer International, enabled us to expand our effort to empower teenagers by granting us the money to start Open Hands (formerly Manos Abiertos). 

Check out the story by clicking this link.

For the past four seasons Open Hands has hired teens and paid them fair compensation — while interns have learned how to grow and prepare food, business marketing skills through managing a Community Supported Agriculture program, personal finance management with bi-weekly paychecks, and how to work collaboratively with a diverse group of people. Additionally, Open Hands teens have attended a national conference called Rooted In Community for teens involved in food justice work, where they have hosted workshops including how to install a ”food forest” and have co-drafted a Youth Food Bill of Rights demanding a more just food economy for their generation.      

Since the beginning of the garden, we have worked with well over a hundred teenagers from Volunteers for Youth. Since 2008, we have worked with over 40 youth in the Open Hands program, including a first generation Mexican-American who is the first in his family to attend a four year college, a student who was one of the few in his family to graduate from high school and several others who have sought out sustainability alternatives in college. 

We are excited to hire another crew of interns for the 2015 season.

Our Mission

Cultivating peace by using good food and sustainable agriculture to connect people with their neighbors, the land, and God.