By Adriana Perez, FoodCorps service member at Bronx Health REACH
When I first arrived at the Sheridan Academy for Young Leaders (PS457)/the Family School (PS443), I immediately saw many possibilities for healthy eating and wellness programming. Instead of diving in head first, I took the time to get to know the students, colleagues and the surrounding community to better understand their wants and needs.
Though there is a healthy rivalry between the schools, the schools do have some common goals: enhancing their students’ learning experiences through nutrition education and providing access to healthier foods, especially through garden programming. Unfortunately, both gardens were destroyed last year by scaffolding erected for building repairs. This year, the schools agreed to come together to rebuild their individual gardens with a new component — a community’ garden, grown and maintained by both schools.
Since most of the garden redevelopment won’t happen until the spring, I decided to “bridge the divide” between the schools with a smaller initiative — the Daffodil Project. This project, coordinated by New Yorkers for Parks and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, provides daffodil bulbs to schools and community groups throughout NYC in an effort to beautify public spaces. After speaking with Principals Rowena Penn and Lisette Febus and Assistant Principals Nicole Smith and Jose Gonzalez, we decided to plant the bulbs along the green space connecting the entrances to the two schools. This is the ideal spot for the building’s first joint garden project as it’s the waiting area for parents collecting their children at the end of the school day.