Check out this video from the Los Angeles LGBT Center - highlighting our youth community garden program!
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We are currently accepting submissions from Los Angeles County public high school students for our inaugural, emerging artists’ gallery show titled, “L.A.”
You can win: prize money + a place in our gallery show!
Works can be any size, shape, or medium--as long as it incorporates the theme.
Los Angeles LGBT Center's Youth Gardening Program
by Rosie Jewell, Summer Intern - Class of 2017
As the Calley Foundation continues to expand its support of projects that create opportunities for unrecognized, talented youth, our team has recently developed a very special program in collaboration with the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
The garden program, which began at the Mansfield Community Garden in Hollywood in April 2017, offers a safe, green space where young people can reap rewards for commitment and effort. Many of the youth face extreme difficulties and even homelessness, but the garden enables them to enjoy a true sense of ownership and belonging. In many ways, it has become a metaphor for the skills and wisdom that help us face the challenges of life.
As our Executive Director, Shawn Kravich, explains: “the garden is a teacher of important lessons: only when our basic needs are met do we have the ability to thrive; we often need the support of others to get through challenging periods; and success requires being patient, showing up, and having a bit of good luck.” These goals very much align with the Foundation’s mission and values.
“I feel good being at the garden. It gives me a little dose. I love seeing little bugs, the progress of the plants – the whole process of nature.” - Kai*
Meeting twice a week, the bright young gardeners - many of them die-hard regulars, often accompanied by curious visitors who come to enjoy the scenery - plant, water, stake, prune and harvest an array of produce. Majestic sunflowers tower over sprawling mint, fragrant tomatoes and plump cucumbers. Rainbow flags add to the color: some standing proudly at the ends of the plots, others peeking through from beneath the foliage.
Each gardener has their own plot marked out, allowing them to cultivate plants that they have chosen based on their own interests: Remi* was keen to fill hers with herbs, as she is fascinated by their medicinal properties, while Ellis* grew strawberries to satisfy his sweet tooth. Jesse’s* watermelons grow bigger every day as he lovingly weaves the vines around a trellis and prunes the dead leaves. Riley’s* mint is thriving despite the blistering heat - recently it was used it to make homemade mint ice-cream, a welcome reward for months of hard work.
As well as ice-cream, the garden has yielded tomatoes, garlic, green onions and jalapeños for salsa, and artichokes that Shawn made into a delicious dip. But often the moment of harvesting itself is the most special. Dirt is shaken triumphantly from freshly dug carrots; bright red strawberries are rinsed, shared out and eaten with relish. The excitement when a ripe tomato beckons is palpable and genuine.
The commitment that the young gardeners have shown has thrilled all of us at the Calley Foundation, and is testament to how the program has enriched their lives. Indeed, many of them are becoming expert horticulturist. But more than this, the garden is a place where passionate and resilient individuals come together to foster a sense of ownership, responsibility, attention, curiosity, and self-expression.
“It’s beautiful. It’s positive energy, it’s nourishment and caring. It’s community.” – Morgan*
The Calley Foundation is currently working with a well-known chef to enhance this program with a garden-to-table cooking class. Stay tuned! For more information in the meantime, check out the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s recent post about the garden program in its online publication, Vanguard Now.
*Names have been changed to protect the identities of youth participants.
The Calley Foundation is proud to support Ghetto Film School's efforts to inspire the next generation of young storytellers through a three-year, $150,000 grant to its Los Angeles-based program.
Ghetto Film School (GFS) is an award-winning non-profit founded in 2000 to educate, develop and celebrate the next generation of great American storytellers. Based in the South Bronx, New York and MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, GFS cultivates a largely untapped group of diverse young artists free of charge through two tracks: a pre-professional, narrative filmmaking educational program, and an early career talent pipeline for opportunities in the creative and media industries.
In 2014, with partners 21st Century Fox and local non-profit Heart of Los Angeles, Ghetto Film School opened GFS LA, a 30-month pre-professional narrative filmmaking program that serves 75 students across Los Angeles County.
For more information about Ghetto Film School Los Angeles, please visit www.ghettofilm.org
Because of the vast number of worthy programs, we do not take unsolicited requests for funding at this time.