On Sunday, February 21, 19 teenagers from Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, California, visited Los Angeles for fun, adventure, and to give back. Beth Am Temple Youth (BATY) is the high school holy community whose mission is to create a community of love and acceptance while spreading good intentions to others.
BATY manifests curiosity, adventurousness, and enthusiasm and stresses the importance of how teenagers have the ability to reach out and help change the world, striving to accept all others, and always holding an open heart for all friends, new and old, regardless of differences, as they explore opportunities for social justice and equality for all. This group brought their mission down to Los Angeles to spread good intentions, good change, and good vibes for the Avalon Public Housing Community Garden.
The high schoolers arrived onsite at 9am and worked diligently throughout the morning. What was an empty garden in need of mulching, soil amending, seedling planting, pipe repairing, sprinkler programing, sign building, painting, and some tender loving was transformed in their four hours of hard work. They worked with taking only short breaks for water and snacks, and they never complained of the heat, blisters, long trips for the mulch, and physical work they exerted until 1pm.
Students made dozens of trips back and forth between the mulch pile and the garden, laying several layers of mulch over every inch of the garden. This helps to prevent the overgrowth of weeds, adds nutrients to the soil, and beautifies the garden.
High Schoolers from BATY worked kindly, politely, respectfully, and meticulously with smiles on their faces. They worked independently and collaboratively. They learned many skills that day, including how to build a picnic table and use power tools, to how to program a sprinkler timer to three settings, and how to amend soil and plant seedlings.
These students showed enthusiasm for working with children from the Avalon Public Housing Community, teaching them how to use garden tools and plant seedlings.
Towards the end of the day, students built a sign for the garden and spent some time decorating it with the children.
At the end of the day, some high schoolers noticed flooding in the garden due to a broken pipe. With Tomas’s instructions, they dug until they found the leak, and then they worked to remove the broken section and replace it.
Overall, the day was a huge success. Avalon Public Housing Community’s administrators were more than pleasantly surprised with the garden’s transformation. These residents now have a weed free, wet, and rich garden to plant seeds and seedlings. Thank you Beth Am Congregation’s High School students, BATY, and their leader, Becky DePalma, Director of Teen Engagement, for an amazing garden work day!