A Los Angeles Community Re-invests in a Garden -- And Each Other

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Energy and the Environment

Crenshaw High School opened in 1968 in the historic Crenshaw District of South Los Angeles. Students here face more than the normal teenage dramas; they also deal with shifting cultural alliances and the threat of gang violence. Economic issues are also a concern; 85% of the students qualify for the Free/Reduced Lunch Program.

Out of these difficult circumstances, the Crenshaw Eco Club has risen to become the largest and most ethnically diverse club on campus. The Eco Club connects young people to nature and gives them a different perspective of themselves and the world.

Bill Vanderberg, Dean of Students and Eco Club Advisor, believes in the power of this perspective to inspire and empower. And now, the Eco Club is inspiring the community to restore the campus garden.

On September 12, students and community members alike gathered at Crenshaw High School to clear out a large space and plant beautiful, tasty, and profitable plants. They got their hands dirty, digging, planting, watering, and sweating to get this garden ready for autumn. The garden will be run and maintained mainly by students, and so will benefit the entire community. It will also serve as an outdoor classroom while producing items for a farmer’s market booth.

The Crenshaw Garden represents another way that youth and adults alike can reinvest in their own community. On September 12, students saw the result of their hard work made manifest, and will continue to see these changes as the planting and growing season wears on. This service project not only got students outdoors, but also connected them with each other, creating a new and hopeful group of young people.

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