Dan Watson
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With support from the community, Leona Cox Community School is hoping to win a grant from Seeds of Change to support the revitalization of the school’s garden and garden program.

Special Education Teacher Marisa Rosenblatt wrote and submitted the grant to the program in the hopes of winning up to $25,000 for her school.

“At Leona Cox Community School, we currently have a neglected garden that needs our school community’s love and attention,” Rosenblatt said.  “We are looking to remodel, rebuild and update the garden to provide an opportunity to bring our students, staff, parents and community together to embrace this wonderful project.”

The Seeds of Change Grant program awards a total of $310,000 in grant money to 12 community gardens and 12 school gardens across the country.  Seeds of Change choose the final winners; however, the public selects the top 50 programs through the company’s online voting system.

In 2015, Charles Helmers Elementary School won a $10,000 grant from the organization to support the construction of the school’s new garden, which is now integrating classroom learning with practical, out-of-the-classroom experiences.

According to Rosenblatt, the grant money will help revitalize the Canyon Country school’s garden program that it lost three years ago due to funding.

“We have been waiting for an opportunity such as the Seeds of Change Grant Program to rejuvenate this lost program,” she said.

The money will also fund EnrichLA, a non-profit program that supports communities through building or remodeling existing gardens.  It will also implement a gardening program where every child could “experience the joy of growing, harvesting, preparing and eating simple whole foods.”

As a Title 1 site, with 69 percent of its student population in low socioeconomic status, the garden will give students an opportunity that they might not have at home.

The program will also benefit the school’s preschool and kindergarten students with special needs.

“These students, along with our general education population, would greatly benefit from our garden as an outdoor classroom: meeting children’s sensory, gross motor, social and cognitive needs,” Rosenblatt said.

Rosenblatt hopes the garden program gives each student a chance to flourish and grow while solidifying their respect for and understanding of sustainable living.

“We hope to provide each grade level at our school a chance to be proud and excited about what they are growing in the garden, helping them gain true ownership of the cycle they will be involved with year after year, and take pride in their school community,” she said.

Voting for the 2017 Seeds of Change Grant Program is open from now until April 19.  The community can vote once a day at www.seedsofchangegrant.com to support Leona Cox’s gardening program.

On May 8, Seeds of Change will announce the 24 grant recipients.

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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Christina Cox
Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.
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