The Somerset Garden Club, a winner of one of Gardening Know How’s 2020 sponsorships, has a keen interest in a most extraordinary cause. In the town of Somerset, Pennsylvania, the Children’s Aid Home serves children who have special difficulties. Some of them have no parents or inadequate parenting, some have no home at all; some come from homes that have incarcerated parents, and some have learning-related challenges.
The Children’s Aid Home (CAH) is a thriving charitable organization where children facing disadvantages are safe, nourished and educated. They also have the good fortune to have a beautiful garden for planting, growing and learning, created and supported by the Somerset Garden Club.
A Garden for Learning and Pleasure
The garden, designed by Sheila Croushore, is an important element of the Children’s Aid Home. Their Youth Gardening Program is fortunate to have retired professionals like Andrea Falchek, Sharon Frieri and Judy Rach who, through their branch of the National Garden Club, serve as mentors, coordinators and volunteers. In addition to teaching and mentoring, as well as all the work that a garden requires, the garden club members provide an opportunity for children to have productive interactions “with a loving adult,” while they spend time in the garden.
The kids are encouraged to participate as much as they want in the garden, and often work on their own individual projects, like raising a tomato plant or growing their own sunflowers.
Over the past months Garden Club volunteers were forced to forego some of their normal fundraising efforts due to COVID-19, so the GKH sponsorship funds were especially welcome this year. They’ll put the funds to good use by amending soil, buying plants and bringing in mulch.
Another project in the Somerset Garden Club’s plan for this year involves managing some native plants in order to include a greater variety for pollinators. Adding various native species, they will be applying for the Penn State Pollinator Garden designation.
Support for Children in Need
A vital and essential organization, the Children’s Aid Home thrives on the support from the Somerset Garden Club. The club’s energetic, educated and enthusiastic participants are a gift to children who are already being challenged in life. Learning how nature functions to support our lives is enormously beneficial to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of these children.
We’re grateful to people like the Somerset Garden Club members, who find the time and energy to coordinate, teach and guide children in this environment, as they learn the basic life skills involved in gardening. Their garden also provides a beautiful natural space that the kids can call their own.