APALC and Wilson High School Launch Community Garden
More than 200 Woodrow Wilson High School students, families, staff and community members gathered on Saturday, March 12th to celebrate Grand Opening of the People's Garden at Woodrow Wilson High School. Elected and civic leaders also made special appearances, including U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, California State Senator Ed Hernandez, Local District 5 Superintendent Robert Martinez, APALC Executive Director Stewart Kwoh, UCLA Senior Researcher Jane Margolis and El Sereno Healthy Start Coordinator Ricardo Lopez. Events included a procession of Wilson students, families and community members from Wilson High School to the site of the garden led by a local Aztec dance troupe, a program featuring the above guest speakers, planting by special guests, children, parents and community members and music by DJ Phatrick and DJ Davsy.
The People's Garden is a result of the collaboration between Asian Pacific American Legal Center's (APALC) Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations (LDIR) School Based Program and Wilson High School. The People's Garden project stemmed from 2010 LDIR students' participatory action research projects that identified a lack of healthy and organic produce available to families in El Sereno in Northeast Los Angeles. These findings inspired students, teachers, and community members to form the Wilson Garden Collaborative and develop a school garden along with a collaborative of classes. The Collaborative will engage curriculum relevant to health and environmental issues, grow healthy and organic foods, and be a center of learning on sustainability, science, and service for the school community. The project also will serve as a model for improving public schools in L.A.U.S.D.
"This project emphasizes academic learning as well as health and service. The People's Garden Project is a direct result of the hard work and collaboration between school stakeholders. With all the difficulties and budget cuts public schools are facing these days, it is great to be a part of an effort that improves our school and unites members of our school community," said Kevin Armenta, Social Science and Environmental & Urban Studies teacher.
"This project is exciting because it is from the ground up and demonstrates that with support, collaboration and resources public school students, teachers, administrators and parents can work together to improve academics and the physical and social environment of schools," said Benji Chang, Director of APALC's Youth and Parent Leadership Development Unit. Other sponsors and collaborators of the Wilson Garden Collaborative include: El Sereno Healthy Start Collaborative, MEChA at Wilson High School, UCLA's Center for Embedded Networking Systems, Exploring Computer Science, and Wilson High School Parent Center.
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