Last weekend (two weekends from now) our Work Study Program provided our landscaping services for our donors in Wekiva Springs (man I’d like a better way to say our donors) in Wekiva Springs. Sidenote…Wekiva Springs is beautiful. We took out a huge bird of paradise plant and it put up a fight! Shout-out to one of our students, Marquis, for his work ethic and persistence transplanting a ton of bushes in the Florida heat, a hard job indeed. We added a bird bath then encircled it with beautiful white, pink, and red begonias. We also planted 2 lemon and 1 lime trees (good luck Henry!), a bunch of peace lillys, thai plants that I can’t remember the name of and succulents. We can’t thank our donors enough for the opportunity to add value to our community while providing employment (need better) experience and empowerment for our youth.
Winter Garden is a place “where good things grow.” But what exactly has been growing in the Community Garden? Join the Winter Garden Community Garden and Grow Orlando on Sunday, May 20 from 2:00 P.M. until 5:00 P.M. as we celebrate our new program: the FarmRaiser, hiring youth from East Winter Garden to tend to the Community Garden, growing fresh, clean produce for their low-income neighbors. Come, sample the produce from the garden in various gourmet dishes, bid on auction items, learn more about the Farmraiser program and donate to support the Garden’s efforts. All proceeds from this event will support this program.https://www.orangeobserver.com/photo-gallery/photos-winter-garden-garden-to-table-fundraiser
How do you use plants to grow teens?
At Grow Orlando, our learning model is simple. All of our young professionals in our program Learn, Earn, Travel, and Grow! (or, L.E.T. Grow!) into a new way of living. but what does that mean? In what ways is our program using plants to establish self-worth, increase their level of professionalism, and obtain new perspective? Here how:
LEARN – focuses on the stewardship of creation. Our Life Skills Through Plant Cultivation course combines the joy of creating life (the plants), the accountability of maintaining that life (grow season), and the understanding of that life’s significance (harvesting the fruits of your labor) in their own lives so the students can Learn to Grow into a new way of living.
EARN – focuses on the skills required to diversify employment opportunities and/or entrepreneurship. Grow Orlando’s Work Study Program offers employment and vocational credit for students in the ESE Department, with our flagship operation located at Jones High School. All of the projects that we have been a part of is centered around neighborhood beautification and sustainable growth for the home owner’s project. Self worth grows, part-time pay provides economic stimulus, and each student’s work maturity skills improves, increasing their levels of professionalism.
TRAVEL – changes the perspective, restructures the mind, and allows our team to appreciate different people and places. This pillar is very important to us because of this, and more-so because almost all of our students have rarely, if ever, traveled anywhere before. If you have seen the Milky Way, overlooked a mountain pass, or immersed yourself in mother nature, you will understand how a trip like our Otherwise Project will increase our student’s perspective more than months in a classroom would.
GROW! – The results of Learning about themselves and how they grow like plants, Earning dignity and self-worth by obtaining a paycheck, and Traveling to places they have only seen sporadically on other people’s Facebook posts will be that by time they graduate, they will have gained a new perspective on life and how they should lead it.
We invite you to grow with us! Every home we beautify, every donation we receive, and every volunteer hour donated fuels our mission to greater impact – so come on in and let’s grow our relationship into action! Interested in joining our cause, or want to volunteer? Donate Here.
Email us for any projects or jobs you need, volunteer opportunities, or just to say hi and you love what we do (those are my favorite!), and we will be in touch!
Hey Orlando! You know, we’re always preaching get action, so we wanted to give a shout out to the young men in our work-study program who work hard for sustainable lives while beautifying the Orlando environment. The hard work and perseverance they’ve shown this school year, and the use of valuable tools they’ve learned while growing with us, embodies the L.E.T. Grow model in every fashion. Things have not been easy, though. In one work study weekend, we had to finish re-sodding 1,300 sq. ft. of residential lawn in Dr. Phillips, build a beautiful and lasting Nantucket-garden in Winter Garden, and helped with the Winter Garden Community Garden restoration. At the end of each project, we clean up, admire our success, chant our ‘Get Action’ mantra*, and move on to the next one. By the end of the day everyone was exhausted, but each one of us thought, ‘Not bad for a weekend!’
Grow Orlando’s work-study program exposes students to the joy and dignity of productivity, and gives us great joy to watch our mission unfold before out eyes. Working throughout the week and Saturdays, while laying down our organization’s foundation, has brought new and invigorating experiences that we at Grow Orlando wouldn’t change for the world. The feeling of personal fulfillment and professional development one cultivates through hard work helps our students, and ourselves, Earn (the E in L.E.T. Grow) dignity, professional development, and fiscal responsibility. The feeling of dignity that cultivates in our students is the soil of proper growth.
Do you have a lawn that needs re-sodding? Do you need a garden installed? Do you want to help provide jobs for exceptional youths from Orlando’s inner cities? Contact us and schedule a free appointment!
*”Get Action; Do Things; Don’t Fritter Away Your Time; Create; Act; Take A Place Wherever You Are And Be Somebody; Get Action.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt
Healthy Eating – Uprooting Food Deserts
Last Saturday, after we finished working at our work study site, I asked a couple of the students if they wanted to stop somewhere to grab something to eat. Knowing that their options had to be weighed, they prudently asked me if I was going to pay for it (otherwise, they would’ve preferred to keep their funds and eat at home). I told them that I would pay for it, and so the search was on for some good food. Unfortunately, from just west of Downtown Orlando, also known as Parramore, to their drop-off site there wasn’t a healthy option in site or mind.
Not wanting to veer too far out of route, to save gas, I made a quick decision to stop at a fast-food fried chicken restaurant, whose identity will remain anonymous. As we were staring at the lists of options, I knew that I didn’t want anything on the menu, so I asked the fellas, “Well, what do you want?” They both slowly shook their heads, and decided against purchasing any of their cholesterol-filled options. I have never been prouder!! Driving away, I thought, this was one of the proudest moments I’ve had in my time at Grow Orlando, and our theory is resounding some positive effects.
Tying fiscal responsibility with healthy decisions does lead towards a healthier lifestyle – even in food deserts!! Our healthiest option, unfortunately, was a gas station due to sheer variety, but it was great to see our guys L.E.T. Grow into a new lifestyle. I can’t wait to see what they do next!