West Stanly High School has teamed up with Trinity Place in Albemarle to be a part of an intergenerational gardening program with the residents.
Natalee Rogers, the school’s FFA advisor and agriculture teacher, partnered with the senior living community on several life enrichment activities over the years, including bringing in animals for the residents to interact with. Her grandmother is a Trinity Place resident, and Rogers said she has always felt a connection to the community.
“They’ve always done great with the residents,” Rogers said. “When the students came out and did the farm tour, before COVID-19, the residents were lined up in the courtyard with the animals.”
Since COVID-19 derailed plans to bring the animals back in the fall, Trinity Place Life Enrichment Director Cora Ingle came up with the gardening project to keep the partnership with the school alive.
The horticulture students grew the plants in the school’s greenhouse, the woodworking students built the planters with wood and supplies donated by the FFA, and the soil was donated by Southern States in Monroe. This project was also supported, in part, through a grant from the Lutheran Services for the Elderly Endowment at the ELCA Foundation.
Two of the planters will have wildflowers in them, so residents can eventually have bouquets in their rooms. The students also planted zinnias, marigolds, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and cucumbers.
“Stanly County is an awesome community. We never lack on volunteers. They want to come in and be part of Trinity Place,” Ingle said. “This just stretches us out into that younger generation. There are a lot of young people out there who want to do something for the elderly, they just aren’t given a chance until an idea is brought up and we put it together.”
The plan is to make this an annual project with residents teaming up to help do the planting, depending on social-distancing guidelines.
“The FFA is about serving others,” Rogers said. “Our students are doing that today and will hopefully continue to do that when this becomes an annual project.”