Sp '12 Communication Majors Planting for Growth
Original article appeared in The New Hampshire, March 30, 2012
The New Hampshire
UNH’s “Aspiring Hands” org received funding for garden
UNH’s own Aspiring Hands organization has received $5,000 to support the community of Somersworth. The grant will help to continue the organization’s efforts to mentor students ages 6 to 18 after school hours.
The mission of Aspiring Hands is to "Provide the children at the after school programs with role models that they can look up to, connect with, rely on, and build relationships with. We bring student volunteers from the University of New Hampshire to the after school program at the Somersworth Youth Safe Haven and the Seymour Osman Community Center to help the children in all aspects."
The grant was received as an honorable mention for the organization as a part of the 2012 “Campus Community Service Challenge.” The grant was donated by Newman’s Own.
“The most rewarding part of the project I think will be seeing the affects the garden will have on Somersworth,” said Meghan Smith, marketing co-coordinator for the garden. “Hopefully this will unify the community and lead to healthier eating choices. It will also be a positive influence on Somersworth Youth Safe Haven because they will have something to look forward to and be able to watch the garden grow and know that they created it.”
The challenge was created as an outlet to support the practice of philanthropy on college campuses.
"The class [Communication for Social Change] is not what I had originally intended to sign up for, but its been an awesome learning experience for me, since I am able to use what I know about marketing and gain real world experience while helping the Somersworth Community," said marketing co-coordinator Julie Fick. "My goal is to be successful in the publicity of the garden so that we can get as many people involved and aware as possible. I hope the garden is a success and the people of the Somersworth community greatly benefit from the project."
Students involved in Aspiring Hands volunteer with elementary and high school students at the Somersworth Youth Safe Haven. Members help youth with homework, education about healthy living options, field trips, and community nutrition plans such as starting a community garden.
The students are working to promote the project to the UNH community as well as the Somersworth Community and to encourage other students and residents to participate. Partners of the project include the UNH dietetic technician, cooperative extensions program, Somersworth Housing Authority, and Somersworth Sustainability Committee.
Members of the project hope the garden will help the community in Somersworth and also to foster relationships among families, neighbors, students, and youth in the area.
“This project is important to the class to learn how to organize such a big project like Plant for Growth,” Smith said. “Personally I am learning how to market such a big project and communicate to the different communities.”