The following post was written by Kimberly, a Special Olympics Youth Leader from Texas. She makes is her mission to strengthen inclusion in her community. Check out how she #innovateforinclusion!
I see what our students eat in the cafeteria and they do not eat healthy so I wanted help others understand the importance of eating healthy. For me, part of being a healthy community means learning to grow our own food. My project taught individuals with and without intellectual disabilities how to make and maintain our very own garden on campus. We knew the grant could not help the whole campus but it does allow those who work in the garden to see where their food comes from. The biggest challenges we had were cleaning up the area for the garden, hauling off trash, and mowing. After that we ordered all the materials for our project and the members of our group collaborated with the small engine and agriculture classes at our school. The two classes worked together to teach us how to build our own raised beds, put in the dirt, and put together the picnic tables. The other challenge was the Texas weather — rain was our enemy. But despite the weather we were still able to get okra, tomatoes, and peppers from the garden to eat! The project was so enjoyable for everyone involved and was implemented successfully. I believe our success went far beyond achieving the goals we set for our project. Seeing all the groups of students work together was so fun. Even our administration and campus visitors have remarked how wonderful the garden looks. Today the students look forward to going to the garden to take care of it and water the plants.
The 2018–2019 Special Olympics Youth Innovation Grant initiative is supported through partnerships with Hasbro, Inc., The Samuel Family Foundation, the Office of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Kantar Group, the Microsoft Corporation, Lane Global Youth Leadership, and the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Learn more about these inspiring projects at SpecialOlympicsGlobalYouthProjects.org.