New Partnership Blooms on the West Side
A community garden is an opportunity to connect with your neighbors and to invest in in the neighborhoods in which you live, and that’s exactly what D’Youville had in mind when it partnered with International Preparatory School (IPrep) as part of Buffalo Public Schools’ Community Garden program spearheaded by Say Yes Buffalo.
“We see this collaboration as one that builds on our existing partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools as well as contributes to our overall impact on the West Side,” says Leah MacVie, associate vice president of institutional effectiveness.
Students of D’Youville’s Upward Bound program will be tending the garden, and once their hard work literally blooms to fruition, a harvest festival will be held at the end of summer for the community to attend.
Three of the four beds at the community garden.
“There was such an overwhelming response among our Upward Bound students when asked to volunteer and many of them are students at IPrep,” adds MacVie.
Upward Bound is a college prep program for students in grades 9-12 which supports their pursuits in post-secondary education.
“The students gravitated toward the project because we have a large contingent of students that attend International Preparatory school where the garden is built,” says Antwan Barlow, director of the Upward Bound program. “They were really interested in a project that would help them add a new aspect to their school and community.”
Durgham Alyasiri, west zone leader for the Community Schools program, says that D’Youville’s role can’t be overstated. “Our program revolves around the community and D’Youville has been very active in the West Side and a force that's growing every day for the good of the entire community.”
Leah MacVie, associate vice president of institutional effectiveness, pictured with Durgham Alyasiri, west zone leader for the Community Schools program, with the garden in the background.
Alyasiri also says that the garden serves as more than just a garden. “The garden has many benefits to the community as far as beautification and access goes. However, for our students, it serves as a space where they can learn, develop, and grow into well-rounded community leaders.”
Isaiah Gary, a Community Schools navigator at International Preparatory School, says that more benefits than just the food can come from a community garden. “Outside of the vegetables that are growing and can be consumed, the garden is a peaceful place for students to spend time and to learn. We look forward to planning garden activities for the students and the opportunity for teachers to incorporate the garden into their lesson planning.”
For Barlow, the project is a reflection of D’Youville’s community efforts. “D’Youville has made a commitment to become a community focal point on the West Side of Buffalo. I believe that to become a known pillar in the community, it starts with grassroots efforts in community projects,” he says.