afterschool and summer programs

The JJK FAN provides interactive lessons as part of the JJK Foundation K-12 grade afterschool and summer programs. Programs promote curiosity and engagement in plant science, urban agriculture, and well-being through improved nutrition and physical fitness. This includes engagement with innovative, sustainable food production systems along with programing related to high- tech aspects of the industry. It all starts with exposure and igniting an interest in science and agriculture. Through collaboration with industry, education institutions, and other non-profit organizations, we connect youth to education, mentorship, internship, and career and college readiness opportunities while addressing barriers to entry.

Through the JJK FAN Collaboration, we are creating a new and replicable model for addressing metropolitan food production. It will serve as a demonstration center where community members and visitors can learn about urban farming, community supported agricultural systems, food innovation, nutrition and wellness, and entrepreneurship. The value of this partnership stems from a joint commitment to education and engagement as the core of the program. Each partner brings expertise in and a passion for youth development, community and economic growth, and individual and family health and wellness.

As a collective, learning goals have been established that take a comprehensive approach to education in the JJK FAN STEAM-Ag curriculum, combining practical skills with theoretical knowledge and aiming to prepare students for academic success and meaningful participation in their communities and the broader field of agriculture.

JJK Foundation

The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation empowers youth in East St. Louis to achieve greatness by providing access to high quality after-school programs, safe recreational places, and caring, engaged role models. Through the JJK FAN Collaboration, each organization provides assets that together amplify our ability to provide educational and professional development programming in STEAM, agriculture, food, nutrition, physical activity, and entrepreneurialism to youth and community members at the Foundation’s site in East St. Louis. JJK Foundation has a full time STEAM Educator that is committed to helping youth win in life by fostering a love for science, technology, engineering, art, and math through interactive learning experiences!

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois Extension embodies service through initiatives focused on community, food and agriculture, economics, health, an environment. Extension provides programming and curriculums to East St. Louis, including 4-H clubs, Embryology, Youth Farmers Market, Seed to Table, Jr. Master Gardeners, Teen Cuisine, Eat Smart Be Active, and Organwise Guys. These programs aim to promote education an empowerment in the community in areas such as agriculture, nutrition,and healthy living.

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center’s STEAM+Ag™ initiatives aim to boost students’ understanding of scientific research through hands-on, diverse experiences. Our programs develop critical thinking and analytical skills, offering activities from geospatial technology and drone operation to plant science exploration. Participants undertake real-world science projects, including data collection and collaboration with experienced scientists, fostering a rich and culturally informed educational experience. Additionally, our workforce development efforts, including the UPLIFT program, provide JJK FAN staff professional growth opportunities through workshops and mentoring, while students can become paid interns at both the JJK FAN and the Danforth Center.

CoLLAGE readiness AND career pATHWAYs

Collectively all organizations work together to create pathways for students and community to fund and persist in post-high school training that allow them to obtain career expanding opportunities in the Metro area fueling vibrancy in the communities they call home.

The JJK FAN is building a collaborative of industry, nonprofit, and collegiate partners to develop opportunities for K-12 youth and beyond around STEAM, Urban Agriculture, Food Production, Nutrition and Wellness. These career and industry immersion-based experiences include:

  • Life Skills
  • Exposure (field trips, workplace tours and career days)
  • Mentorship
  • Internships
  • Workforce credentialing programs and certificate programs
  • Scholarships



Phone: 618.274.5437 X10

The JJK FAN Innovation Center  East Saint Louis, IL 62204