Today, Go Team Halifax got down and dirty, doing some work for Hope Blooms Community Garden. We were busy gardening, transplanting plants, digging up dandelions, and creating a path through the garden. Peter, the Hope Blooms Greenhouse Manager, explained to us that, although he was there to help, it truly was the youth in the community that planned and executed the garden. They were even the ones who interviewed him for his position!
As we worked, people passing by stopped to chat about the wonderful weather, gardening tips, and really any topic. It struck us how much of a community the Hope Blooms fosters in the area that is so looked down upon.
“It’s in every one of us” Peter said when complemented on his love for serving, “it’s just that many people don’t discover it unless they step out.” (Now imagine that quote in his British Accent!)
Hope Blooms is truly a great influence on the youth in this community, giving them a job, teaching them responsibility and showing them that they play a crucial part in creating a positive world. The money made from the salad dressings that they kids make and sell goes toward the ever growing scholarship fund for the youth taking part.
ARK Youth Drop-In
In the afternoon, we went to ARK Outreach- a youth drop in centre which offers a place for people aged 16-24 that are street involved. There we tackled a 3 floor building, scrubbing and cleaning from the top to bottom.
The front of the centre boasts an artistry, open exhibit which showcases an overflow of vibrant talents – from artwork to musical instruments – by young people who come through the center; these same young people whom people might not expect much from. There is an urgent, almost desperate, need for these high risk youths to have a safe haven so they can have a way of escape from dangers, like exploitation and violence. ARK provides that venue, that option- access to much needed assistance and support. The team felt more than privileged to come along side the people running this facility.
In the basement, the walls were lined with signs collected from the youth that had visited over the years and left their cardboard signs behind at this place of refuge. On the signs you can see the travels, the yearnings, and the hearts of the previous owners. And when you read between the lines on these signs, it’s hard for your heart not to feel for these teens and young adults, and sometimes even laugh at their humour in the light of their situation.
How to Help?
- Donate to ARK – not only money but also basic staple such as clothing, bus tickets, coffee, food and snacks, just to name a few.
- Hope Blooms (and in some cases ARK) can use your help in their garden anytime! (Just contact them first!)
- Buying some Hope Blooms dressings that they make (sold at Superstores downtown and at the Farmers Market) to support these young entrepreneurs.
- Walk by the Hope Blooms garden to give a high five or a word of encouragement to the staff and kids and be a part of that great community atmosphere.
GoTeam Halifax 2016