Seeds for Change Service Program (3189)
Sponsored by Chase
Our Conference has a legacy of active engagement with its host cities' communities. This year's service program, Seeds for Change engaged students, parents, local nonprofit leaders and grassroots community organizers, all serving to meet the growing concern regarding access to healthy food options. Throughout the Conference, attendees and Chase volunteers worked alongside community members at three Chicago schools and onsite at the convention center building plots, planting seedlings and construct greenhouses and benches, and packing community gardens in a box to enhance learning activities related to gardening and healthy eating for Chicago Public Schools.
For the gardening resource guide that was included in the community garden in the box, and for other session materials, please visit our session locator system to download the contents from the Files and Resources section.
Learn more about each project site by clicking on the schools below.
In the northern corner of Pullman, in the neighborhood of Cottage Grove Heights, stands Schmid Elementary. Poverty is a major part of Schmid students' lives with 93.4% designated as low income students. However, the administration is committed to rebuilding the culture and climate of the school, starting with their five core values: respect, persistence, accountability, family and integrity.
The Pullman neighborhood is considered a food desert, which means students have little access to healthy food options. To alleviate this, Seeds for Change volunteers provided Schmid students with their very own garden by constructing a garden space from start to finish, constructing raised beds, assembling a storage shed, mulching pathways, fencing the perimeter, planting vegetables and painting garden-themed murals and signs that can inspire and motivate students.
Wendell Phillips High School is located in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, one of the most notable African-American communities in the nation's history. Founded in the late 1800s, it was at one point home to the city's most prominent African-American politicians, artists, entrepreneurs, intellectuals and clergy. Since 1904, Wendell Phillips High School has mirrored the area's history as it represents opportunity for the African-American community in Chicago.
Seeds for Change volunteers at Phillips had a profound impact on the school and surrounding community by aiding efforts to offer students opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills outside of the classroom. Volunteers constructed tables and benches to improve the garden's learning environment and mini hoop houses that extend the garden's growing season during the school year.
Located on Chicago's Near South side in the Oakland neighborhood stands University of Chicago Donoghue Charter School. Since the Great Migration the Chicago Housing Authority has steadily constructed several large housing projects to cope with the high population growth in the area. Today, only half of these low-income housing developments remain and Oakland is steadily making its way out of hardship and deterioration. The neighborhood has witnessed rejuvenation in certain pockets with new construction and refurbishment of older buildings, but there is still a long road towards revitalization.
University of Chicago Donoghue Charter School serves as a valuable resource to the community and its rejuvenation. It opens its doors outside of school hours for parents and community members to learn and grow alongside students. Seeds for Change volunteers improved the courtyard garden area through landscaping and planting, which will greatly compliment Donoghue's "Fresh Fruit and Veggie Program," and by giving students space to enjoy newly added recess time and give faculty and parents a learning space worthy of the areas re-growth.