When high school and middle school students, funders, and residents collaborate to renovate a not so green space, only positive results will grow from the experience.
Here is a snippet from an article on WHYY about the project:
Samuel B. Huey Elementary School’s front garden woke up last Thursday as an overgrown patch of green and ended the day looking a bit brighter and decidedly less overgrown.
In the gated garden outside of Huey, across 52nd Street from Malcolm X Park, the sunburst of raised beds were given a fresh coat of paint, and new flowering plants joined the veggies already growing, and pallet benches provide a place to sit.
This pop-up garden is a joint effort by freshmen at the Science Leadership Academy, Huey 4th and 5th grade Garden Club students, 52nd Street’s corridor manager Akeem Dixon, and community partners who donated garden materials.
Students in Pearl Jonas’ freshman class at Science Leadership Academy (SLA) had $500 to spend on a semester of service project. Their hope was to do a project that helps beautify a neighborhood, and focused in on ways to address an underused space to help strengthen a community. One student reached out to Dixon, who works at The Enterprise Center as 52nd Street’s corridor manager, for possible projects. Dixon pitched the idea of a pop-up park and they ultimately landed on Huey’s hardly used front garden as the site.
For Dixon it helps create a bright spot along the corridor, for Huey it creates a new shared green space, and for SLA students it was a chance to roll up their sleeves and do some good.
The garden was abuzz last Thursday as 10 Huey kids helped spread mulch, weed and plant. Several SLA students went to the Department of Making + Doing for the morning to repurpose shipping pallets into benches. About 25 more SLA students trimmed shrubs, painted, weeded, and picked up litter.
“There was a great energy in the class when we started this. They felt ownership, they really felt like they could drive the project,” said Jonas. “They can do so much more than we give them credit for.”