At Mission Youth House (MY House), the youth and volunteers are raising a garden for themselves and the community.
On Tuesday, June 14, the new MY House Garden officially opened. Barry McLeod of Youth Unlimited and one of the drivers behind MY House began envisioning the gardens over a year ago.
Meanwhile, Sue Hinsley, a practicum student in Riverside’s community support worker/educational assistant program was envisioning a practicum combining youth and gardening, two of her passions.
After some co-ordinating, the MY House Garden project was launched in May.
For the past six weeks, Hinsley has led the way-weeding, digging, and planting, but it has taken the youth, community members, along with the staff and volunteers at MY House to bring it to full fruition.
The gardens are now full of vegetable plants, shrubs, and perennials. Hinsley believes gardening offers skills which the youth can use to enhance their house now and improve their lives.
Aside from learning how to grow their own food, gardening is an anxiety and stress-reliever; it builds self-confidence and environmental awareness and teaches responsibility and teamwork.
The garden’s impact has even further-reaching effects. Hinsley says it is not only for the youth to enjoy, but the community as well. She gets pleasure in seeing the community members stop on the stairs beside the gardens and watch the transformation .
Donations to the project came from across the community. Soil came from Valley Pulp and Sawdust, bark mulch from Home Depot in Abbotsford, manure from Dewdney Elementary School, plants from Emma’s Acres and beautiful live edge wood donated by Allwood Custom Saw from which McLeod created attractive benches and planter boxes.
While the official opening was Tuesday, Hinsley and McLeod agree that this is an on-going project which will continue to grow and thrive just as MY House will continue to help the youth it serves grow and flourish.
“The garden transformation is symbolic of this place,” says Hinsley, “a place youth can come to begin their transformation.”
She invites people to stop by and see the garden, and further donations to it are always welcome.
Less than two years ago, MY House was a dream of the community’s social service agencies and the property was a dumping ground for syringes, condoms, garbage, broken glass and an eyesore for people using the stairs which link Second Avenue and Central Elementary School.
Last September a fully refurbish MY House was officially opened as a place of refuge for Mission’s at risk youth offering a place to get healthy meals, laundry and bathroom services, counseling and adult support.
For further information, contact Marilyn MacDonald at 604-826-3687 or 604-557-3800.