Thursday, August 23, 2012

Women Building Better Community Gardens

My good friend and fellow JLSA volunteer, Shannyn Romero, sent me a text last Wednesday morning. She asked me if I would post some pictures to the JLSA website that she planned on sending me later that day. Not knowing what she was up to, I asked her if her photos were "blogworthy," because I've been crazy busy at work and have had a bit of writer's block. I wasn't sure what my next post would be about. And, as luck would have it, this week's blog found me! How remarkable. Serendipity. Shannyn is the Co-Chair of this year's brand new community placement, Green Spaces Alliance. She spent last Wednesday, along with a bunch of other League and non-League volunteers, making over a 65,000-square-foot community garden on Center Street, on the East side of town.

Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas' mission is "to sustain the natural environment and enhance urban spaces through land conservation, community engagement and education." A key feature of its mission is its Community Gardens Program, which endeavors to start and maintain community gardens, which it defines as "places where people can gather with neighbors, exercise, educate children, find fresh produce, grow beautiful flowers, and preserve San Antonio's green space."

Later that day, just as she promised, Shannyn sent me "before" and "after" photos of the amazing work she and others did to transform this urban space.



Shannyn is passionate about being involved and helping our community, and it just seems to emanate from within her. She texted me: " with the sweat pouring down my face I found myself thinking about actually being a part of something bigger than JLSA, or even San Antonio. Fiskars brought down 10 people from Wisconsin and spent $45,000 to do one little community garden. I think in total there were 60 people there today. Home Depot had a huge team since they were part of the sponsorship. It was cool."

It is cool. Cool and hot at the same time, because temperatures hovered around 101 on August 15. As I read her text and peered at the photos on my cellphone, I thought of my friend, working hard in the heat along with 11 other JLSA volunteers and a bunch of other hard-working folks while she contemplated how profoundly awesome it is to be a part of something that pushes even beyond what the Junior League's mission is all about. They funneled energy, love and care into this small spot in our community and simultaneously made our whole world a better place. I felt proud of her, of the great things that she and her fellow volunteers accomplished, and of the things that JLSA volunteers all accomplish through passion, hard work and dedication. I also felt a little guilty to be sitting in my office with the A/C on full blast!

There is a great article and video clip here about the project if you'd like to know more about it. 

What are you doing this year to build better communities with energy and passion? I'd love to hear from you. Comment below or just text me, like Shannyn did. ;)

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