girl in garden

The Healthy Youth Program officially sunset on June 30, 2019. The following is an historical account of the program, which operated from 2009 - 2019...

Our Mission: Empowering youth and their families to achieve optimal health through hands-on education.

The Healthy Youth Program is an outreach branch of the Linus Pauling Institute. At the Healthy Youth Program we believe all children should have equitable opportunities to eat healthful, nourishing foods, and to have the tools and resources needed to grow and prepare these foods. We offer cooking, nutrition, and garden-based programs for youth (preK through grade 12) and families throughout our local communities, with a focus on partnerships to maximize impact and reach youth and families most in need. Many of our programs are based in school vegetable gardens, linking a healthy and active lifestyle with a healthy and sustainable environment. We engage children and families through participatory education, hands-on activities, and interactive dialogue. All of our programs are youth and family centered, tailored to their unique needs, and build on the strengths of the participating youth and families for long-term success.


As part of LPI’s public outreach, the Healthy Youth Program was founded in 2009 by Simone Frei. As the Healthy Youth Program Manager from 2009–2015, Simone was committed to providing evidence-based and high-quality programs to all youth (preschool through grade 12) and families, ensuring that every family in need will be able to receive full or partial scholarships for their children. Through her leadership, we developed our Program Philosophy and Core Values, which drive the Healthy Youth Program to this day. Our vision is for a community of healthy, happy, and active children and families. 

Our Program Philosophy

We believe that it is an investment in our future to give all children opportunities to eat healthful, nourishing foods.  In our experience, kids are more willing to eat healthful food when they grow it and cook it themselves.  As part of LPI’s public outreach, we offer hands-on cooking, nutrition, and gardening programs for youth and their families.

Healthy Youth Program’s Core Values:

  • Recognize that wellness and healthy lifestyle include physical, mental and social well-being
  • Treat all people with dignity and respect
  • Be committed to excellence in all programs and initiatives undertaken
  • Provide access to our programs for all youth and families in the community
  • Link healthy lifestyles to a healthy and sustainable environment through our vegetable gardens
  • Use garden spaces for hands-on education
  • Involve communities and respond to community needs in all programming
  • Promote fun exercise for children and adults of all ages
  • Role-model healthy eating habits and supportive and affirming parent-child and peer interactions
  • Maintain child- and family centered programming, focusing on the strengths of children and families, not on their weaknesses
  • Build on the assets every child and family brings to any relationship and situation

What Makes us Unique

  • Our educational materials are built upon the LPI’s latest scientific research on vitamins, minerals and other compounds found in the diet to help people live a full and productive life, free of disease.
  • Providing high-quality programming with low youth-to-adult ratios is an integral part of all our programs.
  • We strive to make our programs financially feasible to all by offering full and partial scholarships for our youth programs and offering free and low-cost family programs
  • We strive to accommodate the needs of every child.
  • We are part of the OSU community and actively involved in the Corvallis community, allowing us to build partnerships and collaborations across multiple sectors.
  • We provide education and career-related opportunities for OSU students through our internship and volunteer positions.
  • We strive to make our programs easily accessible by offering them in convenient locations in the community.
  • We have an open-door policy and invite parents to visit or participate in all our programs.