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GROW selects long-time employee to take over as new executive director

GROW executive Director Kari Braley

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Local non-profit organization, GROW, has appointed one of its long-time employees to take over as the organization's new Executive Director.

Kari Bersagel Braley, otherwise known by her students as Ms. Kari , has been selected to take over the role after having served at the non-profit since its start in 2012. According to GROW, Braley has held several different positions over the years, including volunteer, board member, parent, Program Director, and Interim Executive Director.

The organization said Braley's work to provide children with innovative, hands-on learning opportunities has been instrumental in moving its efforts forward.

This includes Braley's efforts to implement GROW Your Brain, a plan to install gardens at local elementary schools to help teach them where their food comes from.

President of the GROW Board of Director Jennifer Klein stated that when the organization's work began to expand outside of La Crosse, Braley only continued to show passion and a commitment to kid's health.

"When it was time to choose a new Executive Director mid-pandemic, we
knew that Kari would lead us brilliantly into a new phase of development that will include urban agriculture at Western Technical College's greenhouse, expanded programming at middle schools, and collaborations with new community partners," said Klein.

Braley echoed feelings of excitement, saying she looks forward to developing new opportunities for youth and their families to partake in seed to table learning.

“I am honored to lead GROW into this next chapter," said Braley. "It is exciting to continue to work with an amazing team of creative professionals and to collaborate with a dedicated and visionary board of directors as we bring meaningful, hands-on experiences to youth in our region."

GROW announced they plan to host one of the organization's new program initiatives this summer, with open garden events scheduled to run every Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

For more information on how to purchase a Garden Passport for events, as well as details on open garden locations, visit GROW's website.

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Grace Gilles

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