At School Garden Project we are thankful for all of the people who support our work in various ways. We couldn’t make our garden education programs happen without the support of donors, schools, and local businesses, and we certainly would be nowhere without our dedicated volunteers. Garden volunteers commit to assisting garden education staff in at least one school once per week or every other week while programs are in session. Their involvement in the program is crucial in keeping our adult to student numbers high. When students are able to break into smaller groups and receive more individual attention there is more room for asking questions, engaging with lessons, and completing hands on tasks in the garden.
Many volunteers go above and beyond the minimum commitment and take on sessions at multiple schools as well as assist with program evaluation with staff in our office. Sarah Collins is one such volunteer. During her time with School Garden Project, Sarah has logged nearly 100 hours in multiple schools and in the School Garden Project office helping our programs run smoothly. Sarah learned about the SGP by exploring internship opportunities for Environmental Studies/Science students at the University of Oregon. We asked Sarah some questions about her experience volunteering with us and here’s what she had to say:
Q: What did you learn at SGP that you believe will be valuable for your future?
A: School Garden Project taught me many life valuable lessons; however, the most valuable lesson that I learned was how to work with children of multiple learning levels. Not every child learns the same way, so I was taught how to teach in a manner that would educate both parts of the learning spectrum without boring or overwhelming the students. That lesson will help me if I decide to teach in my future career.
Q: What was your favorite part about your volunteer experience?
A: Working with the students was my absolute favorite part about volunteering with School Garden Project. So many times have I been surprised at the knowledge each class of students bring with them into the garden. They never stopped surprising me.
Q: If you could give advice to future School Garden Project volunteers, what would it be?
A: My advice for future volunteers would be to:
Read the online curriculum before the lesson
Get to know the garden educators you are working with. They make volunteering with the School Garden Project worth your while. As for me, volunteering with the School Garden Project was one of my favorite memories, during my college years, because of the garden educators I worked with.