Last Monday Garden Ranger, Traci Demuth, led a group of middle school students from Turning Point School and a few volunteers at Weemes Elementary School for some serious weeding, pruning, mulch spreading, composting, and harvest work. Turning Point School has a special relationship with Weemes. Last school year, Turning Point School partnered with EnrichLA to build the garden at Weemes. Turning Point School students helped to install a sprinkler system, pour concrete, and build garden beds, turning an unused and empty portion of the playground into a beautiful space. Currently, Weemes has a flourishing array of edibles, including tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, basil, parsley, cabbage, carrots, and melons. Middle schoolers were able to return to the garden they helped to build and continue to exude their efforts in maintaining their hard work. They spent a few hours in the garden weeding, clearing out dead weeds and garden waste, and used a variety of garden tools, including shovels, hand rakes, wheelbarrows, clippers, and pitch forks. Responsibly, they demonstrated safe use of the equipment and made a significant difference in the garden. With the help of a few community volunteers in preparing salads from the garden, students enjoyed a few tastes of their hard work.
The relationship established from the garden has expanded. Middle school students are also collaborating with younger Weemes students to facilitate tutoring. Matthew Kline, the middle school teacher leading these students, along with Peter Boylan, Dean of the Middle School at Turning Point, accompanied the students and got their hands dirty working alongside them in the garden. Matt continues to build relationships with Weemes through his idea about tutoring and peer mentoring. EnrichLA sends out a warm THANK YOU to Turning Point School. The effects of a school garden have a positive spiraling effect throughout the community in a variety of ways.