Digging into dirt was a first-time experience for many students in downtown York this week as they constructed and filled urban garden boxes.
As part of Roar for Learning, the summer program at Lincoln Charter School, the 100 attending students had the chance to create urban garden boxes.
"Probably 90 percent of our kids have never touched dirt or stone, let alone have a chance to do the building part," said Anne Clark, summer program coordinator. "We weren't sure how much help we would have, and we are truly grateful."
Four men from Grace Fellowship church, 1405 Seven Valleys Road in York Township, donated their time to help the students construct the 3- by 4-foot wooden garden boxes.
While the men - Ron Drayer, Wayne Bryant, Hal Grau and Bob Gifford - did the bulk of the construction, the students were able to make measurements, drill holes, add screws, cut wood using a miter saw, and use nail guns under their supervision.
Clark had applied for a grant for the project and was denied, but was delighted when the funding was made possible by the Salem Square Project, which partnered with Roar for Learning for the first time this summer.
The students, incoming first- through fifth-graders, planted marigolds to transplant to the 10 urban garden boxes when they are finished. Later the boxes will hold fruits and vegetables that Clark said will then be distributed among the community.
The volunteer turnout this year has enabled the program to offer more to the students than any of the previous 12 summers, said Clark.
Guest artists have visited to teach stained glass and dollmaking, and volunteers work with the students on math, reading, vocabulary and the arts.
"Not only are they not losing material over the summer, but they are getting pre-exposure to what they are going to be learning this school year," Clark said.
- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or firstname.lastname@example.org