Greetings from Park Place!

On May 3, 16 Tennessee High School students gathered at Vance Community Garden for a Day of Service.  This annual “Service” day began two years ago to remember a fellow student, Austin Arnold who died tragically in a car accident at age 16. Austin was fond of serving his community and days after his death students gathered to volunteer at his favorite places to help themselves and others heal.   The day was so popular and meaningful that the tradition continues; remembering not only Austin but other fellow students who pass from this life while still in High School.  This bittersweet Memorial Day is meaningful in so many ways.  Students reflect on the lives of their peers, knowing that they still have a chance to make a difference in their community by volunteering.


Austin Arnold, 1995- 2012

During the afternoon work session, students toured the garden, learning about different plants that were growing.  Many were new to the site of vegetables in the garden; guessing one after another at what they could be.  “Wow” , “Cool” and “Really?” were common comments.  Students were armed with rakes and wheelbarrows, hoes and gloves and proceeded to clean and spruce up the community garden.  Old bricks and loose raised bed timbers were removed from pathways.  Debris and leaves that littered the garden were raked up and cleared making pathways once again usable.  It was a hot, long day, yet students remained happy to help.

“We came here because we wanted to help the community and our past experiences with this day have been great.    We learned some gardening skills that we can carry on later in life (when we have our own gardens). Like, you can plant clover; that takes Nitrogen out of the air and puts it down in the soil where plants can get to it. Plus, we got a chance to learn how to use a power drill. It was cool learning how to identify the vegetables that were growing in the garden; especially the peas.  Today has been a very good experience and we hope to come back to volunteer again.”

What a fantastic way for young people to remember their friends.