Special Volunteer Opportunities Blossom at ACH
Even with the COVID-19 outbreak, volunteering is still the heart of ACH. Without our volunteers, we would not have the support we need for our children and families.
During the pandemic, young adults in our care created a volunteering initiative by founding a gardening club sprouting from the Wichita campus! Clients and staff from the LIFE Project have come together to form the Sprouts Gardening Committee, to spruce up the community garden, which will continue to grow beautiful flowers and fresh fruits and vegetables for all clients who live on campus. The young adults will be able to log the hours they spend working on the garden to go toward volunteer credits.
Young adults from life noticed that the campus garden looked a little rundown. Instantly, they had a desire to bring it back to life.
“They just want to beautify the garden on campus, and they seem very passionate about it,” said Cassie Morgan, a LIFE Project Mentor. “We’re very excited.”
What is the LIFE Project?
ACH’s LIFE (Learning Independence from Experience) Project is a program that builds self-confidence and self-sufficiency in young adults ages 18 to 21 who are homeless or are in extended foster care. They live on our Wichita campus where they are given guidance, support, and assistance in developing life skills—such as applying to college, entering the workforce, and preparing to live independently.
The garden committee could not have started at a better time. Before the pandemic, many of the clients were applying for jobs but, because of shelter in place, plans were put on hold. With all the uncertainties, the garden gives them a way to unwind and destress while volunteering, while at the same time providing sustainable products for our residential clients.
“I think they enjoy getting out of their rooms, getting away from the TV, and just digging in some dirt,” Cassie said.
Cassie is most looking forward to the sense of community and teamwork the committee will bring.
“I think this is another unique way that we can connect with clients with other areas of campus,” Cassie said. “I see so much beauty in that.
Several of the young adults from the LIFE Project were strolling around campus one evening and noticed that the garden looked a little run down. Instantly, they had a desire to bring it back to life.
“We set a time to meet,” Cassie explained. “Four clients showed up and they took it from there.”
So far, the committee has been pulling weeds and refreshing the soil in the garden. For now, they are going to focus on planting seedlings. They even have plans to add artwork.
“A lot of our clients that are a part of this garden project are extremely artistic,” Cassie said. “We are always looking for ways for them to try a new art skill.”
Eventually, they hope the garden will produce fruits and veggies for everyone at ACH to enjoy.
Help Us Grow!
For the garden to flourish, the Sprouts Gardening Committee needs a helping hand from our community.
We are currently asking for in-kind donations that include seeds, plants, soil, and gardening tools. For the safety of our clients, all donations must be new and unopened and through appointment only.
Got a green thumb? Tips and tricks from gardening clubs and horticulturists could really help our budding gardeners and are most appreciated!