Planting Seeds of Hope & Seeds of Community
Author: Sr. Nancyann Turner
“Unless the seed falls to the ground and dies, it remains a seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise…” - Excerpt from Cardinal John Dearden's Prayer of Hope
And thus we start another garden season with the children of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. This is the 20th season of gardening for our children! The mission of the Rosa Parks Youth Program at the Soup Kitchen emphasizes education, creativity and peacemaking. The program helps youth think clearly, make choices wisely, learn alternatives to violence, and care for themselves and the entire Earth community. The Rosa Parks Peace Garden develops this mission in the practical work of gardening: reinforcing basic job skills and requirements such as timeliness, teamwork, accountability, mutual respect for co-workers and completion of tasks. It is a time of learning and of confidence building so that the children may not only obtain better jobs in the future but also keep them.
Over the summer months, each participant will learn the basic skills necessary to grow and cook their own nutritious food—thus promoting both health and economic benefits. Garden teachers assist participants in hands-on training to carefully prepare soil, sow seeds, design garden beds, and tend plants for optimal growth. The children are actively creating beauty and plant life—certainly a countersign to the destruction and blight in their neighborhoods.
The garden program involves 16 youth (8-14 years old), two student managers and includes two adult mentors. The season for gardening starts in May and concludes in late September. I love the garden program and the whole garden season. It gives me such hope and new life. Gardening also reminds me to plant seeds wherever and whenever I can. Happy gardening!