Thanks to our Volunteers! We’ve had a successful summer!
Summer is nearly over, but that’s okay because it has been a successful one thanks to all of our generous volunteers! As of August 13th, we’ve had the pleasure of working with 2582 group volunteers and 152 individual volunteers in 2016. That makes a total of over 11,900 volunteer service hours supporting St. Louis Garden projects! This diverse volunteer core represents the educational, corporate, faith-based, non-profit sectors and more! Thank you for serving your community. We’d like to highlight a few groups to showcase their impact at Gateway Greening and across St. Louis neighborhoods.
YouthWorks on the Farm
AMEN St. Louis embraces the neighborhood around them by providing mission opportunities with local organizations. AMEN volunteers have spent time just about everywhere for Gateway Greening. From Gateway Greening’s Urban Farm to several of the community gardens, AMEN St. Louis’ work with us is greatly appreciated.
“AMEN St. Louis is a ministry of Oak Hill Presbyterian Church on the south side of St. Louis City. We host youth, adult and intergenerational mission teams from around the country. Part of our mission is to provide volunteers to various non-profits, ministries and missions throughout the St. Louis area. A week would not be complete without a day spent at a Gateway Greening Community Garden or the City Seeds Urban Farm. Our groups enjoy a bit of St. Louis summer weather while building relationships with community volunteers, Gateway Greening Staff, and each other. Helping to grow healthy food for the St. Louis community is an added bonus. We appreciate the partnership we’ve developed with Gateway Greening. ” – Donna Cook
Volunteer Day at Clay Elementary School Garden
On July 16th, Rise STL’s Rise Young Professionals Board, The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis Young Lawyers Association, and LinkStL came to help at Clay Elementary’s Cougar School Garden in Hyde Park. Through their help, the Cougar School Garden has been revitalized and will continue to be a source of learning for all children in the community! We reached out to one these amazing organizations to hear what they had to say about volunteering:
“The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL) has a proud tradition of community engagement and service to others, and the community gardening and engagement initiative at Clay Elementary is the latest example of the organization’s ongoing commitment. BAMSL members were honored to partner with the Young Professionals Board of Rise Saint Louis, Gateway Greening, and Link St. Louis, Inc. on this important community gardening project. This volunteer project not only allowed us to care for the Clay Elementary Cougar Community Garden while the students were away on summer break, but it also introduced many volunteers to a part of Saint Louis that they had only driven past. Working with these wonderful organizations – and engaging with community members – reminded us of an important truth: that we are all in this together. BAMSL hopes to continue its work with these partners on significant community engagement projects going forward.
Metro High School at Bell Garden
Bell Demonstration and Community Garden had seven Metro High School students volunteer recently. We spoke with a couple of those students and asked how they became involved.
Ella Catherine said, “I heard it through a friend who also made their school a friend of Gateway Greening [Volunteer Group].”
Sasha Mothershead heard through her environmental club and from Ella Catherine.
These students, all upperclassmen, are all either involved in gardening, agriculture, or conservation and it doesn’t just end there. On top of volunteering Saturdays with Gateway Greening, each, in their various spare time, are either on debate team, running for their cross country team, involved with the school newspaper, taking advanced courses through the International Baccalaureate Program, and continuing to dedicate volunteer hours to other great organizations.
A great take away from the day was that they made friends with some of the Bell Community gardeners who gave the students tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Sasha said, “Being able to work with the people you’re helping is also cool.”
Individual Spotlight: Susan Baron
Total Lifetime Volunteer Hours with Gateway Greening: 200 hrs!
Susan Baron is a committed volunteer at Gateway Greening’s Bell Demonstration Garden! While living in New Hampshire, Susan had been involved with a community garden project, but when she moved she knew she wanted to continue to support that type of work here in St. Louis. Susan looked online and found Gateway Greening! We got in touch with Susan and asked her about her volunteer experience with our organization.
“Being a volunteer for Gateway Greening means getting up early on Saturdays, finding calm in weeding and picking bugs off of brassicas, experimenting with new ways to do things, being able to talk vegetable gardening with friends and coworkers, and having a good supply of Gateway Greening grocery bags, garden gloves, and t-shirts. I love having a place to go where I can watch the progress of the plants and be a part of a community of people tending a patch of ground.”
She also stated: “I think my favorite moments have been conversing with other volunteers while tending the garden. Having a common (and somewhat tedious) task seems to set the stage for conversations that take a little more time and go a little deeper than most daily conversations.
Also, sometimes I look up from my task–whatever it is–and realize I’m really happy. Sometimes the people and plants and weather all combine in a way that reminds me of all the beauty and goodness in the world.”