The garden was started in 2005, in response to one more building being demolished in our little town and the resulting, additional empty lot on main street. The plan was that residents would take care of the garden, and almost immediately people in our small community began to volunteer. We laid out a path, added a couple of donated fences and benches, and planted trees and bushes that were purchased with dollars provided by local community groups. Soon, donated plants began to appear at the corner of the new garden, and friends and neighbors stopped by to help plant the many daylilies, daisies, hollyhocks, yarrow, peonies, and irises given by city and area residents... Thus, a community garden was born. But that isn’t the best part of the story.
After a couple of years, many of the senior citizens who originally volunteered were no longer around or able to work in the garden, and a very few residents found themselves spending large amounts of time on evenings and weekends trying to maintain the garden. It was during this time that some local children started to show up from time to time, looking for someone to talk to or something to do. The adults were happy to oblige them, and started the kids on mowing, planting, watering, and pulling weeds. From time-to-time some currency even changed hands, in the way of pocket money. By the end of the third summer, three local children had come to view the garden as their summer job. One of them graduated from high school in 2012 and the two others will graduate this year. It’s hard to believe. In addition to those original three, we have supplied 13 more local children with summer jobs. We now have conscious fund raising efforts with the intention of raising enough money each year to pay the summer wages of the “Kennedy Green Team.”
So you see, the Community Garden isn't just a bunch of flowers, but rather a source of pride, and joy and relaxation, and also a resource for our local youth. Who could have imagined?
Kennedy Green Team
We try to find a job for any kid who wants to work. Typically, we employ only children under the age of sixteen and work every morning, Monday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. But we’re flexible, allowing time off for swim lessons, summer sports, or trips to camp or grandma’s.
Everyone gets paid once, at the end of the summer, and many of the kids use their money for school clothes and supplies. As a city, Kennedy is extremely proud of our summer jobs program and enormously appreciative of any support we get from area businesses and residents, former residents, or philanthropists of any sort. Donating to the Kennedy Community Garden makes a difference, and we appreciate it.