Youth Safe Haven Community Garden
UNH and Somersworth Youth Safe Haven Families Meet to Plan Community Garden the Albert J. Nadeau Housing Development
Somersworth NH, Apr. 12, 2012-
Students from the University of New Hampshire and Somersworth Youth Safe Haven as well as community members from the Albert J. Nadeau Apartment Complex joined together last Thursday to discuss plans for an upcoming community garden to be located within the complex off Bartlett Ave. Students, teachers, parents, children, and residents were all part of the first meeting to set out guidelines, rules, and future plans for this local garden. The meeting was a huge success with more than fifty people in attendance. Many people were involved and were eager to get this project underway. “This is great teamwork for all the children to be involved in,” Officer Jen Payne from the Somersworth Police Station who also attended the meeting.
Members of the Albert J. Nadeau community attended the meeting to add their gardening expertise. A number of experienced gardeners shared their ideas. Mothers whose children attend the afterschool program at the Save Haven were there to offer their time and commitment to the garden. Many children also added their thoughts and hopes for the garden. The whole room, which consisted of all ages, participated in different group activities to achieve the best possible outcome for the garden. “The energy in the room was very exciting,” said Betty Eaton, project director of Somersworth Youth Safe Haven, “this is a dream come true for me to see this happening.”
For some long-time Somersworth Housing Authority employees and residents, this project represents another opportunity to grow vegetables for the community. Debbie Evan Assistant Director for the Somersworth Housing Authority and was an active member in the meeting stated “this will be a nice activity for the adults and children, 10 to 15 years ago there was a garden but people lost interest, now there is much more involvement from the community”.
The garden is a collaborative effort of members of this community, children at Somersworth Youth Safe Haven, an after-school program within the Somersworth Housing Authority, and many different classes and groups from the University of New Hampshire. It will be an ongoing project for Somersworth Youth Safe Haven youth and will be supervised by a leadership team of local Albert J. Nadeau residents, parents and UNH volunteers.
Kate Hanson, UNH professor of Community Leadership and coordinator of the project, is thrilled with the model that these shared efforts is creating both in meeting the mission of UNH and in showing students how to take what they’re learning into the real world. “This is very important for all of my students, who are majoring in Communication or Community Leadership, to see what can happen when groups come together to focus on community change. These are lessons that all of us can take into many aspects of our lives and work.” So far, students, faculty and staff from the TSAS Dietetic Technician Program, Aspiring Hands, the Organic Gardening Club, Jessie Doe and Williamson Residence Halls, Office of Community Service and Learning, Cooperative Extension, the Office of Sustainability and a number of fraternities and sororities have joined in to help plan the garden, work with the children and raise funds for the building of the garden.
There are many opportunities for others to support this project. On May 1, in the Food Court of UNH’s Memorial Union Building, fraternities and sororities are hosting an international dinner buffet from 6-8pm to raise money for a garden shed. All are welcome to attend. The cost is $5.00
On May 4 from 2-6pm, volunteers from the Albert J. Nadeau community, Somersworth Youth Safe Haven participants and students from UNH will be working together to build the raised bed gardens.
A celebration of the hard work that everyone has put into the project will happen on May 7 from 2-3:30pm at UNH’s Cole Hall.