Nov 25th, 2014

Faison School Students Get Work Experience & Help the Children's Garden

By Nicki, Youth Programs Developer, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Sorting cans

Faison student, Jack, sorting recyclables.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has had an established recycling program for years, but one area we needed help with was our Children’s Garden recycling.  Hundreds of school groups come each year to the Garden on field trips, and many bring cans and other items that can be recycled. Lots of them!  Through a collaborative program with Faison School for Autism all of these items are sorted and recycled, and Faison students are gaining real work experience.

nicki and recycling bin

Nicki showing the sorting card that the students use to help know which recycling bin to sort items into.

Students are in charge of our Children’s Garden recycling through the Garden’s Vocational Program, a program designed for youth in transition, gaining skills for life after high school. Students in the Vocational Program work on career skills and vocational training in a variety of work fields including food service, clerical, and other areas as needed. One of the areas we continue to grow in is being a certified Virginia Green attraction and our strive to be consciences of the environment we cherish so much. Recycling is another effort we make to be a more sustainable garden.

Not only is the new recycling addition helping our environment, it’s also helping our younger volunteers gain work skills. Through managing the recycling, volunteers from Faison are gaining meaningful experience and working on a variety of educational goals. Adam Wright, Faison support staff,  explains that through the Vocational Program, “Students work on individualized Education Plans (IEP) goals that include Community Based Instruction and pre-vocational training in order to increase student contact with community resources and facilitate independent engagement in a variety of enriching activities.” While managing the recycling, volunteers work on fine and gross motor skills, sorting, sequenced and multi-step tasks, reading, communication, and community engagement.

Thank you Faison school students for all of your hard work.

Nicki Apostolow is the Youth Programs Developer at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden where she runs youth volunteer programs, including Service Learning, Summer Programs, Vocational Programs & Internships.

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