TASSS students begin annual garden planting at Springdale

Pictured above, TASSS student Lincoln is seen here at work in one of the gardens at Springdale Country Manor.

Partnership providing students in S.T.R.I.V.E. program with valuable experience while helping to beautify the home

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – It’s a Friday morning and a group of students from Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School (TASSS) are busy prepping the gardens at Springdale Country Manor for a planting session in summer.

The three students at the Peterborough County long-term care home on this day are involved with Kinark Child and Family Services’ S.T.R.I.V.E. (Support Teenagers in Readiness for Independence, Vocation and Education) program.

The goal of the S.T.R.I.V.E. program is to help teenagers accessing its services increase their employment and life skills so they can become fully independent and employable.

For about five years, students from the program have been coming to Springdale Country Manor for a couple of hours each week in spring to help prep the home’s gardens so residents will have flowers and plants in summer.

On this day, the students are trimming branches and shrubs. They’re carting wheelbarrows full of potting soil to fill the flower beds.

In June, the students will begin planting the flowers.

The program is an important partnership on many levels, says Mark Wilkins, child and youth counsellor with Kinark Child and Family Services.

Firstly, it’s contributing to residents’ quality of life by providing them with the colourful scenery they enjoy.

For the students, the partnership provides experience to make a difference in their community while helping them acquire the 40 hours of volunteer service they need to graduate.

“Our program is all about paying it forward; these kids being able to give back to the community, being able to be involved and being a positive role in our community,” Mark says.

And the students are seeing value in the program, too.

“(I like) the fact that I am having fun and helping out in the community,” Lincoln, one of the students, tells The OMNIway.

Jett, another S.T.R.I.V.E. student, says he can’t single out one aspect of the program he likes best.

“I just like everything about it,” he says.

This is Part 1 of a two-part story.

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