Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youth 18 years of age & younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Microgrant recipient Santino (15) from OH and other students from John F. Kennedy Catholic School were part of a student committee charged with making the school more visible to the community, specifically by transforming the school’s courtyard into a vegetable garden that could support the cafeteria’s efforts to create healthy meals.
- What inspired you to start this project? As a group we wanted to create something that would build our culture of togetherness and service. The project was intended to begin to foster a sense of pride and enthusiasm by allowing the garden to blossom into this.
- While working on your project, what surprised you? The amount of work and small things that you usually don’t think about like building the beds and transporting the soil and weeding the beds and watering them regularly. What also surprised us was the emotion of seeing others use the vegetables and get excited about something that we did with our own sweat, blood and determination. We also were able to see this excitement in our own school as our garden was used in our salad bar and in our daily lunches. Lastly we were able to see that there are others who want to be a light and are willing to help because they believe in just doing good for others.
- What do you feel you learned from this experience? Nothing worth it is easy and there are others that genuinely care and want to lend a hand.
- How did Karma for Cara impact your project? Receiving the grant was not only fitting but inspiring. As teenagers we often forget about the reality of life and getting this grant and learning about Karma for Cara really emotionally impacted us. There were times where things got overwhelming but we couldn’t let up because we wanted to be something for others to look up to and inspire them the way Karma for Cara has.
- How will your project continue to impact others? As we move into the next stage, we intend to expand our garden from 4 to 8 beds and build irrigation for each bed. Along with the garden we intend to make the courtyard a place for our alumni and school to be proud of. We have started a 3 phase project that will include water features, seating and landscaping. The courtyard will host events such as school mass and special farm to table meals. While creating this atmosphere we also expect to build upon providing for local food banks such as St. Vincent DePaul and the Warren Family Mission while also continuing to help with our own cafeteria salad bar and meals.
- How many hours did you spend on your project? 250
- How many youth volunteers were involved in your project? 6
- How many total hours did other youth volunteers spend on your project? 250
Nicely done, Santino & team! Keep up the great work maintaining the garden and providing healthy food for your schoolmates!