The Home Depot Garden Club proudly sponsors Youth Garden Grants, a program targeted to help build and maintain school gardens across the United States. So far, this effort has helped to support over 600 schools with funding, curriculum, employee volunteer hours, and most important, hope.Many of the programs that received grants have high rates of students receiving free and reduced lunches and are located in underserved areas. Programs like the Youth Garden Grant provide enough support to get programs started and keep programs going that often do not receive support from school budgets.Many of these programs have gone on to receive increased volunteer support from families of students and the community at large. Additionally, based on their initial success, many school and youth organizations have also received larger grants and additional funding opportunities from other sources that have helped to sustain their programs into the future.
The Home Depot Garden Club provides a total of 100 awards; 95 youth garden programs receive $500 gift certificates and five select prograHome Depot employee, Jerry Flick, helps Cougar Run Elementary students create wooden planter boxes.ms are chosen to win a $1000 award, including $500 from the National Gardening Association’s Gardening with Kids store, a $500 gift card to Home Depot, and curriculum from the NGA.
Within their own communities, Home Depot employees have contributed time to help youth gardens grow. For example, Jerry Flick, from the Highlands Ranch store in Colorado, helped second graders and their families build wooden planter boxes on planting day at Cougar Run Elementary, extending garden lessons into the home.
In Springfield, Massachusetts, the local YMCA Magic Year’s Learning Center 2012 Youth Garden Grant Winner YMCA Magic Years Learning Center Springfield, MAdeveloped a garden in an urban environment. The school’s raised beds are located in a highly visible, easily accessed location. The modest school garden contains fruits and vegetables, with a few flowers interspersed. Educator Melissa Graziano comments, “The children have been involved in every stage of this project, from picking out the plants and tools at Home Depot to deciding where in the garden to place the various plants to taking full responsibility for the care and maintenance of the garden.”Support from Home Depot Garden Club and the local Springfield store employees has helped to make this program a success for youth and the larger community.
Over the course of six years, Home Depot has contributed over $400,000 in funding to support initiatives to educate youth about the environment, health and nutrition, as well as helping to increase access to fruits and vegetables by working with youth programs to establish gardens.Over 13,000 youths participated in youth garden efforts in 2012, with 50% of those youths residing in urban areas.Approximately 53% of the programs that received awards serve youth who are assisted by free and reduced lunch programs.16,645 volunteer hours were contributed to these youth programs in 2012 alone.
Grants are awarded to schools, non-profits, youth groups, parks and recreations departments, and a host of other groups that work with students. The awards have had a tremendous impact on students and their communities across the United States. To support or to apply for Youth Garden Grants please visit www.kidsgardening.org.
Kids Gardening and the National Gardening Association actively work with schools and communities across the country to provide educational resources and build gardens to promote health, wellness, and sustainability.