Q&A With Microgrant Recipient Abigail


Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. After learning that over 20% of her school’s population qualifies as Specialty Resource students–ranging from ADHD to high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder–Abigail (17) from Norfolk, VA used her grant to build a Sensory Herb Spiral Garden within her school’s outdoor gardening area. The existing outdoor garden was already dedicated to teaching outdoor gardening, healthy living and environmental issues, and elementary school students visit it once a week as part of the curriculum. Abigail’s research indicated that a sensory garden can be very therapeutic for individuals who suffer from sensory problems & may be used as a calming place and as a gentle way to stimulate the senses. In such a garden, children with sensory processing disorders feel safe & comfortable exploring their senses without feeling overwhelmed by them. For children who do not suffer from a disability, a sensory garden is beneficial in that it is a fun, educational tool that allows them to explore and learn about their senses & nature.

  1. What inspired you to start this project? The resource students at my school liked going out into the school garden when they were having a rough day or needed a break. I thought having a sensory garden would be a benefit , something special for them to enjoy. 
  2. Other than you, how many student volunteers participated in your service project? 49
  3. Other than you, how many adult volunteers participated in your service project? 2
  4. How many hours did you spend on your project? 9
  5. How many hours did other volunteers spend on your project? 22
  6. How many individuals were affected by your project? 696
  7. During the time period between when you applied for a K4C microgrant & when you completed the project, what surprised you?  Receiving the grant was a huge surprise! The elementary students that helped were so happy to work hard and contribute. Reading the Cara Cookies Volunteers children’s book was inspirational and impactful. 
  8. Overall what did you learn from this experience? The planning and organizing were much harder than the actual physical work. I spent more time searching for plants that add a sensory element in the fall. It was challenging. The students love the spiral ! The feedback has been very positive. 
  9. How will your project continue having an impact in the future? When resource students need a break or are having a “ rough” day, they can go to the spiral herb garden and enjoy the spiral. They can touch the plants, smell the herbs, enjoy the sounds of the wind chimes There is seating so they can relax and enjoy the sensory elements. In addition, any student from the elementary or high school campus can come and enjoy the Herb Spiral. Any food or herbs from the spiral will be used in the cafeteria . 
  10. How was the K4C microgrant helpful in the completion of your project? The spiral herb garden would not be possible without the microgrant funds.