Planting A Seed

Claire Ames in front of the Learning Garden

Recently, I was walking down the hallway with a few girls who attend Garden Club at the Southern Boone Learning Garden. One of them looked up at me and asked, “So, why are you here?” I told the girls I was taking a class that encourages me to serve and, most importantly, that my major is education.

When I began my service at the Southern Boone Learning Garden, we planted seeds in the Garden Club that we would later harvest. A few kids in my group were confused with the technique of how to effectively plant a seed and needed a small lesson on how to do it. I explained to my group that we wanted to have three rows of spinach and that each hole needed to be three inches apart. After the lesson, we used trowels to draw lines and gave the students different platting sections. Then, each child used approximately two finger lengths apart to measure where to make their holes.

Being able to effectively teach children how to plant seeds was a valuable experience for me. When teaching, kids will question what you are doing and you have to be prepared to take on their curiosity. During the seed lesson, I had to emphasize to one child, who did not want to get her hands dirty, that if we do not put the seed far enough into the dirt that they will not be able to grow and have long roots. After some encouragement, she was eager to help the plant grow.

Throughout this experience, I have learned one of the most important lessons of compassion. Hope Sickmeier from the Southern Boone Learning Garden is compassionate and cares for the children first and foremost. When you start with compassion it opens the door to new conversations about education or just personal things that children may open up to you about.  The inequalities with money that occur within school districts is unjust, but people such as Hope Sickmeier are helping to bridge this inequality with their skills.

Garden Club is coming to an end, but I’m ready for the next part of my service, which is Cooking Club. Since Cooking Club will be with middle schoolers, I’m looking forward to working with an older age group and exploring the differences between them and the younger children. I hope to engage in deeper conversations about what living a healthy life style entails and how healthy eating ties into it. Helping these children learn how to cook healthier foods that they can take home and use with their family is the main goal of Cooking Club, so that fast food is not always the first option. As Cooking Club is about to start I am excited and hopeful for this new experience.