Provider Pals program connects kids, farmers
In today’s urbanized culture, millions of Americans have little or no understanding of where their food and other basics of everyday life come from. That’s why Bruce Vincent, a third-generation Montana logger, helped establish Provider Pals.
“The Wall Street Journal has described Provider Pals as one of the most exciting educational initiatives in decades, because it’s a powerful bridge-building experience,” said Vincent, who noted that urban students seldom, if ever, get to meet the stewards of the environment.
Provider Pals is a cultural exchange program that links urban classrooms, rural classrooms, and the people who get their hands dirty every day, including farmers, ranchers, miners, loggers, oil field workers, commercial fishermen, and others.
So far, Provider Pals has connected with more than 10,000 children in 35 cities from New York to Los Angeles. Provider Pals programming includes classroom exchanges of rural students traveling to the city, and urban students visiting rural areas for fun and learning.
Provider Pals’ reach expanded by thousands when Caterpillar Foundation recently offered a grant to build Provider World, an educational Web site where kids play games, chat with other students, learn about rural professions and cultures, and have fun.
“The next generation is sick of hearing what’s wrong with our world, and they want hope for our planet with humanity on it,” Vincent said. “They are open to hearing our story, and Provider Pals helps build those bridges.”
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