These are common feelings amongst the Napoli and Burmese refugees in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Recognizing this, Neighbors United for New Possibilities has asked the Napoli and Burmese refugees to join with them in their community garden. The local high school has donated some land in front of the school to be used for a community garden to grow not only flowers, but produce as well.
AmeriCorps worker Lindsey Verkaik has been developing relationships with local members of the community and NPO groups to develop this garden. Lindsey told me a story about working in the garden on Saturday saying, “I was talking to one of the Catholic Social Services volunteers and they shared that for the refugees this is a chance for them to do something that comes naturally to them as well as a time when they can teach instead of being taught. It was rewarding and pride-building for them to teach someone else and therapeutic to be doing something that they are good at. For us it was great because each time we plant they teach us something new!”
Relationships are growing along with the plants in this garden as the refugees are able to teach the other residents, both young and old, about gardening. The fruit of this harvest will be plentiful!