What is Seeds?

Sowing Seeds into the Midlands ('Seeds') is a grassroots nonprofit committed to helping youth ages 13-18 thrive. Based in Columbia, South Carolina, we offer support services and tailored programming to help teens make informed decisions that benefit their futures.  From life skills training and professional counseling to mentoring and after-school tutoring, we create safe spaces for teens to engage authentically and respectfully with themselves and the world around them.


...'cause it's not a crime to be a kid.

While it's no secret that we're champions for fun and games, we're also heavy advocates for the serious work -- the decriminalization of adolescence. Our work with policymakers aims to reform a broken youth criminal justice system on both state and federal levels. 

Zakiya Esper // Founder + Executive Director

Zakiya Esper // Founder + Executive Director

After years of working as a juvenile probation officer in South Carolina, Zakiya Esper became increasingly alarmed by the gap in support services for the teens she served. The vision for Sowing Seeds into the Midlands was birthed from Zakiya's belief in redemption for troubled youth, honoring a fair shot for all teens, especially those living in the communities where she was raised.

What's Growin' On?


HOME sweet home

Thanks to our growing partnership with the City of Columbia Police Department, Seeds now has a place to call home in the historic Waverly Community!



Paddle boating? Check. Team building? Check. New experiences with new friends? Check, check, and check --our first Seeds Summer day camp was an absolute blast! 



In 2016, Seeds lost one of our own, Skylar Hilary, in a tragic car accident. We're honoring his memory with a gift that keeps on giving, right from our backyard.