YES! is welcoming a new member to our staff – Winston Pennington-Flax is the newest YES! coordinator. We are excited for Winston to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with the YES! Program as a Coordinator for the Central MN teams!
Here is a little more about Winston:
When I heard that the YES! program was looking to expand in central region, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved, and the passion, potential, and hard work I’ve seen from the teams in the short while since I’ve come on board have confirmed that this is going to be an extraordinary year for schools, teams, and individuals alike.
I grew up in Crete, Illinois, a far south suburb of Chicago, and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art and Psychology from Beloit College, a small liberal arts school in south-central Wisconsin. However, the majority of my education came from the community partnerships and organizing opportunities I had while outside of the classroom, which led me to work on organic farms, create an after-school art program for teens, participate in waste-reduction campaigns, and bring local food awareness to campus.
After college I had the privilege of learning and practicing environmental education with Community GroundWorks in Madison, Wisconsin in their Kids’ Garden program. Last year I found my new home in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, and have since spent time as a Youth Counselor at the Saint Cloud Children’s Home and found my current position as Community Gardens Manager with the Central Minnesota Sustainability Project. I have been awed by the connections I’ve made with local families and community partners in this short time, and I can’t wait to continue the trend.
Though in the summer months you are likely to find me in one of the Saint Cloud gardens with an armful of produce, I also enjoy spending my time hiking and identifying wild edibles, riding my bicycle, playing clawhammer and old-time banjo, and cooking in all its forms. I specialize in relief printmaking, but the skills I learned while studying art seem to surface in all different areas and activities, and I am always prepared to find creative solutions and work with my hands.
Though I am excited to be able to offer my expertise, I am even more excited about all of the skills, ideas, and knowledge that the YES! teams will bring to the table, and I can’t wait to see the outcomes of the upcoming year of working and learning together!