Last year, Marillac Social Center and St. Vincent de Paul Center began a collaboration with Zealous Good, an online marketplace that connects individuals and businesses looking to donate goods and services with non-profit organizations. Zealous Good has successfully matched individuals and businesses with both Centers, helping us to receive items such as men’s and women’s clothing, an Oriental rug, and children’s bikes.
Last summer, the children of the Pre-Kindergarten program at St. Vincent’s enjoyed the fruits of this partnership with the delivery of a butterfly garden. As part of their lesson plans, the teachers sought to put together a container garden to show where food comes from. This dream became a reality when Avant-Gardenscapes, a Barrington-based landscaping company, donated the supplies to build the butterfly garden. In addition to the butterfly garden, the Pre-K playground was transformed with new planters, soil, and herb and vegetable plants, aided by a generous donor inspired by the butterfly garden. The children took pleasure in seeing the flowers grow and the plants thrive and can’t wait to see what grows each year.
This year, volunteers from Lincoln Park Village, a not-for-profit organization for people aged 50+, dedicated to finding new ways to age gracefully, helped expand the garden. In early 2011, Lincoln Park Village and St. Vincent de Paul Center developed a program for their members to volunteer in the Early Childhood Program as Classroom Aides. The rewards of the partnership are apparent by walking into any Pre-K classroom on a Tuesday morning. The children’s faces light up when the volunteers enter the room, and the volunteers have a little extra pep in their step when they leave.
Three volunteers in particular, Bob and Melaine Stephens and Rose Sandler, have gone above and beyond in their volunteer efforts. Besides donating their time and energy, these individuals have contributed to the expansion of the Pre-K garden at St. Vincent’s. They have provided gardening tools, dirt, and vegetable plants. The garden now boasts an impressive array of flowers and vegetables that have bloomed this summer. We know that the classrooms can’t wait to get a taste of their hard efforts! We would like to thank donors such as Avant-Gardenscapes that help us provide our classrooms with unique and enriching experiences, as well as volunteers such as Bob, Melaine, and Rose, who embody the true spirit of giving.