August’s Theme is Summer Garden Memories. Here are a few favorite memories and
thoughts from our AmeriCorps Refugee Rise Summer Team Members, Nguyen and Izzie.
“Weeding is usually one of the most tedious job in the garden especially when it is scorching
hot out, but what made me enjoyed it so much was the conversations Izzie, Gedeon, Phillip
and I had. We would talk about the differences in our cultures and would laugh at how
ridiculous some were. At the end of the day, I felt like I was not working, but learning the
diverse cultures Storm Lake has to offer.
I will definitely miss Gedeon’s dance moves and singing. I enjoyed watching him dancing in the
garden at the most random time and place. I think that is when I usually would crack up and
bust out my “can’t breath” laugh.
Farming is a big part of Iowa, yet not a lot of kids who live in a city get to see what farming is
like. I hope that the Garden Project at The Bridge this summer helped the kids to expand their
knowledge on farming/agriculture. I hope they will feel they have accomplished something
because they have been there from the beginning, planting the seeds to harvesting.”
“The garden this summer has been full of its ups and downs, but my most favorite
memory was the conversations we had. I learned so much about other cultures and family
lives in that garden. I think the calmness and openness of the garden gives kids a better
opportunity for trust. However, I didn’t only learn from the kids, I learned so much from my
coworkers. Not only about their culture, but about their faith, moral beliefs, and about their
lives. I got to know so many people on a deep level because of the time in the garden, and
now I can walk away with new friends and connections.
The garden program has opened up so many opportunities. To start off with, it gives
children a chance to build a healthy relationship with good people. From my experience, the
biggest thing taken away from the garden isn’t the prizes or rewards they get, but the bonds
that have started to form. We give kids the opportunity to expand on their problem solving
skills by challenging them to new tasks and how they should complete them. We open up a
new door for some of these kids, and we open their eyes to new ideas. We also try to
encourage a strong work ethic while they are young so that they can take it with them
wherever they may go.
The garden is more than plants and weeds, the garden is a place of peace and
accomplishments and of happiness. It’s a place where we connect and learn together. The
garden is an open place with good pouring out from every seed.”