Let me drop a beautiful quote on y’all. “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower” -Alexander Den Heijer.
Yesterday I was able to spend most of my day at the West summer camp site. It will be held in Eakin Elementary, by the Wedgewood apartments, if you’re familiar with Columbus. This is one of the most challenging sites because it’s located in the most violent area of Columbus. This community has very few, if any, positive outlets for youth which inevitably leads to poor decisions. Apart from these negative facts, the site is buzzing with potential! There is a vacant building right across the street from Eakin that used to be an elementary. Apparently, the principal, along with help from ETSS is proposing it be turned into a community center. This immediately made me think of the community center back home on the East side. It’s been there since before I can remember and was such an essential part of my childhood. It assisted my parents in feeding and clothing me and my siblings and gave us positive outlets during the school year and summer such as sports, summer camps and even jobs. I’ve emailed the Executive Director of the family center now in hopes I can receive some pointers on how to make a strong proposal or even get the ball rolling.
Back to the Wedgewood apartments…
There’s a community garden! ETSS has maintained this for about 3 years now but this is the last year grants will be used for it. 😦 This is the summer to make the garden stable. I learned one of my many tasks this summer will be helping integrate lesson plans of the instructors with the garden to teach the youth about nutrition and allow them to literally grow their own food in the garden. I could not be more excited, even though I don’t know the first thing about gardening. Needless to say, I’ve been doing a lot of research and pinteresting for ideas and tips on how to make the garden a self-sustaining project. At our fellow meeting on Wednesday, a few people spoke about creating projects that will last beyond their time at the sites. I’ve come to realize this is mine.
In the past, after the summer camp ends, the garden has died or been vandalized, anything from pulling up the plants, to smashing accessories made for the garden. I think an issue is the community doesn’t see this garden as their own, so destroying it has no affect. If I can somehow involve the community and motivate them to work in the garden and adopt it as their own, that would be amazing. Back home (in Toledo), I know of a community garden on the South side that has just blossomed, both metaphorically and literally. I’ve reached out to the nonprofit, Sofia Quintero, to ask for advice, so fingers crossed they get back to be soon!
Below is the East side site’s community garden! #Goals