Youth Services, Child Development collaborate for community garden

Annabelle Northrup and Noah Walch

A student-created gardening program will begin during the first week of April at Glenview-Northbrook Youth Services, according to senior Madi Catarello. The program is part of a project for Advanced Childhood Development 4 and focuses on teaching underprivileged children ways to grow cheap and healthy food.

The program will be divided into weekly classes with elementary school children, Catarello says. The classes themselves will be carried out at Youth Services by Catarello and her partner, senior Emma Duffy, while the early seedlings will be grown in the greenhouse at GBS. Catarello also hopes that the course’s interactive emphasis increases the excitement of its participators.

“Mondays after school starting the first week of April, kids are going to be able to pick out the plants they want to put in the garden,” Catarello said. “[The plants] will grow in the GBS greenhouse, and then we’re going to transplant them to the [Community Garden] in May.”

Duffy says that this idea sprouted from a combination of desire for a local focus as well as her previous experience in South’s Horticulture class.

“All of the other groups were doing stuff in the city and we thought it would be nice to do something local, and I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate [Horticulture] in some way,” Duffy said.

According to Catarello, downtown Chicago is not the only area in which low-income families are in need of help. In fact, many local households can benefit from this garden program, Catarello says.

“There are a lot of needy families in the Glenview and Northfield community that we don’t really notice because a lot of us don’t experience that problem, but it really does impact this area a lot more than we realize,” Catarello said.

Kim Kiraly, Child Development teacher, says that the educational outreach Service Learning Project, given in the culminating course of Child Development, offers an open-ended opportunity to make a difference.

“Students identify something that they feel they can do to positively impact our society, whether it’s locally, statewide, nationally, or even globally,” Kiraly said.

Duffy expresses her hope that the program will teach the children useful skills that will not only show them how to grow cheap and healthy food, but also how to care for living things.

“I’m hoping that the kids will have an understanding of how to take care of plants and what to do with them and how to make sure they eat right and understand how to take care of stuff and not just hope it grows,” Duffy said.