Jan 7, 2015

Spark and Career Development: A Student's Story

Jane (pictured below) has been in Futures since it began back in March of 2014. One of the first things we asked her was: What is your spark? That thing that gets you up in the morning that makes you excited about the day. Jane thought about it and timidly answered, "umm..art." When asked: “What do you want to do for a career?”, she answered, “I want to be a tattoo artist like my parents and my uncle are.”
Over the course of this past year her transformation has been tremendous. She can now proudly tell us not only her spark (which has changed from art to archery), but can now confidently explain what a spark is and why it is important our new students. When we asked about her career now she has decided to “Take my own path”. Jane has even been involved with other nonprofits including, designing a bra for Free the Girls.
Jane can now imagine herself pursuing a multitude of paths and does not feel limited to just tattoo artistry as her only option.
Jane is the first to ask for us to hold Futures on the Wednesdays where school lets out too early for after school programs to meet. She has also flexed her leadership skills by helping us recruit new students and becoming involved in student leadership at school. Her enthusiasm is infectious and has brought many of the quieter students out of their shells. Her now best friend Jill, could barely say her name when she entered our program, but now has the confidence to express herself and is pursuing her spark of rapping.

Futures has given Jane and students like her purpose, focus, and confidence. Students from all backgrounds and walks of life are able to meet and talk about what makes them passionate and give each other support so they can reach their goals. Futures encourages students to think critically about how their spark can not only provide them with joy, but with direction and even a career. Futures also provides a safe place for students to express themselves with the knowledge that their fellow student respect their passions and opinions.

We have teamed up with Wheat Ridge 5-8 to help them reach state standards by hosting an assembly that will bring together speakers from many fascinating careers to talk to the student body.

We will also be partnering with a local nonprofit to create a joint community project in this coming trimester. We are currently deciding between many worthy causes and will have the student help create as well as participate in the project.

Starting in March we will be expanding our mentor program to include one day a month where students and mentors can meet on campus to help with homework and academic goals.

We need your help to reach our goals so our student can continue to explore their sparks. With our now 20 students we need funds to reach our goal of being able to afford to send all of them to summer camps. 


Thank you for supporting our students sparks.

Jan 7, 2015

A Garden at Every School

Hello and Thank You,

We are truly overwhelmed by all the support we received on GlobalGiving this month and sincerely thank all of you for your efforts.

We are honored to have had so many people share our emails, Facebook posts, and engage us through the story of Mandy.

Mandy and her family exemplify the heart of the Jovial Gardens program. Last year, Mandy was pregnant with her third son and wasn't able to be as active in her garden as normal. When she heard about our program, she donated a large space in her yard to host a Jovial Garden. Mandy was thrilled to be able to support individuals in her community by providing the space to grow fresh organic produce. Her young boys were not strangers to the Jovial Garden volunteers as they often ran out to help as soon as we arrived at the garden, sometimes only wearing diapers!

However, things took an unexpected turn when Mandy's third son was born with a rare disease known as Hershprungs. This disease affected the development of his intestines and he only has use of half of his small intestine, he has a non-functioning large intestine, and has had complications with his heart, hearing, and kidneys as well. Due to these complications, Dakarai must stay on a healthy plant based diet.

When the doctors prescribed winter squash as Dakarai’s main staple for nutrients, Jovial Gardens came into play. We had grown hundreds of pounds of winter squash in our gardens and could provide all the fresh organic squash Dakarai needed. Mandy and her family love being a Jovial Garden host as it supports the health of the family and they are able to give so much to their community.

As a teacher, Mandy is excited for the educational additions to our program in 2015. We received a small grant last year from the Denver Foundation to build a Greenhouse. However, we wanted this to be a community hub, accessible for education and community use. After exploring several possible locations and designs, we are honored to announce that we have partnered with Edgewater Elementary school. They have a lovely Greenhouse that hasn’t been used for several years and Jovial Gardens is making a few changes to get her ready again! We are excited to say that will be teaching elementary students about gardening 2 days a week at Edgewater Elementary! We feel this is an important step in education, sustainability, and to increasing access to food in areas that need it most. We currently meet every Tuesday at 7pm at Joyride Brewery to organize this program, feel free to join us.

We are excited to announce that we have expanded our gardens to include many families on our waitlist and have a goal to double our produce donation in 2015 to 5,000lbs!

We are looking for a few more volunteers to lead activities each week at the Elementary School and as spring quickly approaches, we need more volunteers for the gardens.

If you are interested in volunteering or getting involved please email info@jovialconcepts.org or call 303-578-2569

Thank you for your support of Jovial Gardens!

Links:

Oct 7, 2014

Jovial Gardens 2014 Fall Update

Volunteers Helping In a Jovial Garden
Volunteers Helping In a Jovial Garden
Jovial Gardens is pleased to announce that we have far and away surpassed our initial plot diversity, meal supplements for food insecure families and individuals, and overall harvest expectations. To date, we have donated nearly 1800 lbs. of produce to the communities we are grateful to be invited in to, with an estimated 600 lbs. harvest this last weekend, of tomatoes, summer/winter squash, zucchini, herbs, okra, corn, potatoes, radishes, carrots, and a variety of beans.  This means we have supplemented over 450 meals for low-income, marginalized individuals and families in the last five months, with harvest numbers only expected to increase before winter sets in.  Many of our crops may be preserved and stored for donation through the New Year, ensuring our commitment to the community will go as far as possible throughout the year!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our many Jovial Gardens plot hosts in Edgewater, Wheat Ridge, and Lakewood, and our EXCEPTIONAL volunteers for their contributions to a community greater than ourselves.  As always (and now more than ever), we encourage anyone and everyone to volunteer in aiding our efforts.  Whether as an individual, or a service-oriented club/group, we greatly appreciate more hands that aren’t afraid to get dirty. In return, all volunteers will receive home-grown, organic veggies to create a healthy meal of their own!
JUST A FEW NOTES: 
— We are in process of arranging a Jovial Gardens Fall Harvest Celebration for our generous hosts and exceptional volunteers!
— We are currently seeking mutually beneficial relationships with local businesses, non-profits, community/social organizations, individuals, and anyone interested in promoting our goals of sustainability, commitment to community relationships, and neighborhood beautification. 
— As always, we are always looking for volunteers.  If you would like to be a part of a fun, social, and educational gardening opportunity, please get in touch!
Many thanks for your contribution to our efforts!
Edgewater, CO Community Picnic
Edgewater, CO Community Picnic
Edgewater, CO Community Kids
Edgewater, CO Community Kids
Jovial Garden - Corn, Beans, and Squash
Jovial Garden - Corn, Beans, and Squash
Jovial Garden Volunteer Team
Jovial Garden Volunteer Team
Donated Produce
Donated Produce
More Donated Produce
More Donated Produce
 
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