Authored by: Maria Drummond, Recreational Therapist at Salt Lake County Youth Services
Last fall, General Electric Health built us five new boxes for the Teen Learning Garden, and installed an irrigation system with an automatic timer. This month, Zions Bank employees donated seeds and planted the garden beds with our youth. HDR, Inc. volunteers donated paint and paint brushes and helped our youth freshen up our T-Rex statues, which are looking fabulous again, after a winter’s worth of weathering beat them down a bit.
Thanks to the generous donations of time and resources from these corporations, Salt Lake County Youth Services Learning Gardens are planted and thriving! We have five large beds in the Teen Learning Garden, which will be used by our Boys Group Home, Girls Group Home, Crisis Residential, and even one of our After School Summer Programs, which will care for their garden as part of their weekly field trips to work with our onsite Challenge Course. We also have four smaller garden beds that the children at the Christmas Box House will have access to.
Our campus is looking beautiful, as we have: a flower and a salsa garden, corn, pumpkins, beans, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, radishes, a grape arbor, strawberries and a thorn-less blackberry bush. Throughout the season, the youth and children who stay in our emergency shelter and crisis care programs will have access to this growing space to learn more about growing food, horticulture, and how to prepare vegetables that may or may not be familiar to them. Gardening can be a restorative, relaxing, and even an empowering activity. We look forward to spending the summer caring for these green spaces and building our understanding of the natural world.
We actually have one on-going volunteer who will work with our youth and kids throughout the growing season to teach them about garden care, vegetable harvesting, and recipes involving the variety of vegetables and fruit in our gardens. If you would like to volunteer in this way as well, please contact Maria Drummond at firstname.lastname@example.org for details! No specialized garden knowledge is necessary, just an interest in learning and serving the kids and youth at Salt Lake County Youth Services.