Garden mural at Lincoln Charter communicates inclusiveness, love

Dawn J. Sagert
York Dispatch

Inside, Lincoln Charter School was buzzing with activity on Tuesday, June 26.

Some children were preparing for their field trip, while others were settling in to learn how to make jewelry during the school’s Roar for Learning Summer Program. Wednesday, they would paint.

Megan Kirchner, 16, one of 24 youth from Castine Church in Arcanum, Oh. spending time volunteering as part of a mission trip in York, draws symbols onto plywood beginning a mural for the Hope Street Garden and Learning Lab, at Lincoln Charter school in York City, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Outside, three large sheets of plywood were laid out as a handful of Ohio teenagers drew on them with pencils. The drawings followed a theme of connectedness.

The teens were on a mission, actually, a mission trip. Their goal was to help where needed and to work alongside students in Lincoln Charter School's Roar for Learning Summer Program to create a three-part mural that was installed at Hope Street Garden and Learning Lab on Thursday.

Youth group volunteer Zach Johnson, with Castine Church in Arcanum, Ohio, stood nearby Tuesday and coordinated efforts.

”We have them doing a little bit of everything,” Johnson said. “Some of our artists are working on creating a mural that the kids are going to help paint.”

The 24 youth were also weeding and working on maintenance at Hope Street Garden as well as doing some maintenance inside the school.

The murals were installed  Thursday at Hope Street Garden and Learning Lab, a collaboration of everyone’s efforts during the week.

“We’ve had thousands of volunteers come over the last six years to both Lincoln  and Hope Street,” said Anne Clark, who is the executive director for Hope Street Garden and Learning Lab. 

"We have so appreciated the volunteers from Ohio being here this week," Clark said.

"I was here two days ago, and the garden needed a lot of work," Clark continued. "It's just been transformed."

Clark said that the program began in 2011 with the primary focus of nutrition and safety for the children of Lincoln Charter School during the summer. With the primary goals met, the program is now able to explore a comprehensive entrepreneurship program.

On Thursday, Lincoln Charter School facilities manager Wendell Harper and his crew hung the three murals on Hope Street, with students posing by their works for group photos.

Each piece was full of colorful illustrations of community, hope, peace and love. Two of the pieces are horizontal, and the final piece is hung vertically. It stands out.

"The students thought that this captured, to them, that our world needs to be surrounded by our heart, and then each of the students put their handprints all over it," Clark said.

“A lot of people feel fragmented and separated,” Clark said. “Here at Lincoln, our goal is always inclusiveness and to make sure that everybody knows they belong and that they’re part of what we’re doing here.

“I hope that the mural captures the essence of our children and our community of York that demonstrates love every day.”