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Bring New Life to a School Garden

Bethune Middle School & Plaza El Segundo Store, El Segundo, California

  • Choose a WKF Garden Grant recipient in need – find your local WKF Garden Grant recipients here
  • Partner with community organizations to stretch garden grant dollars
  • Arrive early at your school to do the heavy lifting before involving kids
  • Form a long term relationship with your chosen school

A School in Need

An incredible team of volunteers from the Plaza El Segundo store, led by MTL Lisa Zollner, did their research when choosing a school to celebrate with. The store chose to reach a little bit outside their usual community to help WKF Garden Grant recipient Bethune Middle School, a Title I school with 100% of students eligible for the Free/Reduced Lunch Program.

A Garden in Disrepair

Bethune Middle School received a Teaching Garden grant from the American Heart Association a few years ago, but due to budget cuts, the teachers tending that garden were transferred. The garden fell into disrepair – broken raised beds surrounded by concrete greeted Lisa and her team upon their first visit to Bethune.

Community Partners

The WKF Garden Grant and Plaza El Segundo’s resources were not going to be enough to cover costs for the makeover this garden needed, so the store reached out to community organizations for help.

Because of amazing local partners, Bethune was able to have leftover funds from its WKF Garden Grant to pay students a small wage to look after the garden during the summer!

This process was guided by the Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP), a nonprofit that makes sure grants and other funds are properly used by the Los Angeles Unified School District. Special thanks to Amy Chou, the Community School Coordinator from LAEP. 

Partying the Day Away

On the day of the garden party, TMs and community volunteers arrived at Bethune Middle School early to complete major tasks before kids joined the festivities. These improvements included:

  • Repairing raised beds
  • Making room for a picnic table
  • Creating shade with privacy inserts
  • Covering concrete between garden beds with dirt and mulch 
  • Making a compost bin from old pallets

When kids got out of school, they got to work by:

  • Planting in the new garden beds
  • Assembling a new picnic table
  • Decorating garden markers

Snacks from WKF and local sponsors were appreciated after a whole day in the garden! None of the students had ever had hummus, so Roots was a huge hit at this School Garden Party.

A Promising Future

Plaza El Segundo, the American Heart Association, and LAEP are not going to let this garden fall into disrepair again. They have pledged to continue partnering with Bethune Middle School, extending their arms into communities that truly need help!