As we head into what more feel is a HOLIDAY WEEKEND, filled with summer cocktails and bar-be-ques, my heart is heavy. Waking up to yet another mass shooting involving what our Director of Sustainability calls her "joys"; 19 innocent children and 2 brave teachers losing the battle against hate in our world is making my stomach hurt. It is causing me to reflect on the meaning TURLY behind Memorial Day.
a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered, traditionally observed on May 30 but now officially observed on the last Monday in May.
Today, as I reflect on the selfless acts of our military men and women who have been called to protect our freedom, at ALL costs, and to their families who have given up so much as well, I, on behalf of Spirit of Discovery Park, I am launching a campaign to help those who have risked it all! This campaign will run from the Wednesday before Memorial Day, today, till the Wednesday after the 4th of July. All donations made to this campaign will be used to purchase, place, and implement educational and entrepreneurial programming with the AVG (aeroponic vertical garden tools) at St. Louis Community College with my friend and colleague, George Herrera, Director of Veterans Affairs.
OUR GOAL: to implement this educational and entrepreneurial programming, with AT LEAST 1 AVG at the 4 main campuses: Florissant Valley, Wildwood, Meramec and Forest Park starting mid-July 2022. A campaign raise of $5,120 would provide 4 AVG's, 1 for each of the 4 main campus buildings, for indoor and outdoor growing.
By providing AVG's for training, this opportunity will provide numerous therapeutic and mental health benefits such as stress relief, mental clarity and feeling of reward. The VA healthcare system has posted data that states, “veterans involved in gardening or horticultural therapy tend to have reduced inflammation, lower levels of stress hormones, and increased mental well-being.” The produce from these gardens will go back to the college to provide health foods for those in need through our Student Advocacy and Resource Center (SARC). Most of the students in need may be part of the MO supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP).
Again, this program will allow for student veterans to learn, experience, grow- hands on- and offer produce to other students from across the region. The STLCC Veterans Club will lead a collaborative with SoDP to include the horticultural program and Campus Life teams on every campus. Veterans and STLCC students in our community that live in food desserts or have a financial need, will benefit from the nutrient dense, sustainable food these tools will provide.
If you'd like to give back to those who have given it all, please consider sharing this post on your social media sites to help raise awareness and donate! God Bless America and our Troops!
Until next time- jame : )