We are 10 weeks out from the official Green Apple Day of Service, but that didn't stop anyone at Aptitud Community Academy in San Jose, Calif., from getting his or her hands dirty this weekend.
On Sunday, July 20, I spent the day with volunteers from 360 Architecture, the USGBC Northern California Chapter, the San Jose Earthquakes and the Green Sports Alliance (whom you may remember from the first ever Green Apple Day of Service event), working in an incredible school garden and enjoying the California sunshine.
More than 50 volunteers showed up for Green Apple Day at Aptitud. We built planter boxes and beds, weeded, mulched and planted trees. Students created signage and artwork for row after row of kale, pumpkins, watermelon, jalapeños, corn and more already growing at the school. As the sun burned off the morning cloud cover, volunteers dug in to do an incredible amount of work.
A school garden transforms a community
Two years ago, Principal Natasha Wexler and her team wanted to bring a garden to Aptitud Community Academy, but people in the neighborhood thought they were crazy, fearing vandalism and crime. But since working with Veggielution Community Farm to bring a vegetable garden to the school, incidents of vandalism are almost nonexistent on the campus.
The garden is maintained by teachers, students and their families. Wexler chalks the absence of vandalism up to “the connectedness to the school” that the community feels and the support they receive throughout the year on days like this. “It’s going to be what takes our school to the next level,” she said.
Green Apple Day of Service is built on the creativity and partnerships you see every day in schools like Aptitud, and this week’s event was no exception. Planned in conjunction with the Green Sports Summit, the morning at Aptitud came together thanks to coordination by the Alliance, Veggielution and 360 Architecture, whose generous contribution made the day possible.
Wexler said it was one of the greatest working days she’d seen in the garden, “and we’ve had a lot of them!”
Get started planning your Green Apple Day of Service
Do you want to know what really impressed me about this event?
It was only eight weeks from the time the school committed to the project to the day of completion. Many Green Apple Day of Service events won’t take half that long to come together. That means you’ve got plenty of time to get started on making your own plans for Sept. 27 (and like today’s event, it doesn’t even have to be on that day).
Get started started planning your day of service at mygreenapple.org/dayofservice.
We can’t wait to hear what you will do.