Monday, May 23, 2011

Go Cincinnati 2011 - Did you Go?

A couple of weeks ago - I participated in Go Cincinnati. It was an amazing day and so fun to give back to the city I now call home. If you're not familiar with Go Cincinnati - check out this video (produced by Crossroads):

Here's the thing - who doesn't have FOUR HOURS one time a year to give to others? We all do. I decided this year that I needed to do something more. Having never participated in Go Cincinnati before - I decided not only was I going to volunteer - I was going to be a team lead! 

My project was the Giving Garden in Kennedy Heights. They've taken a property that did house a major drug ring posing as a landscaping business and have transformed it into a future community garden. Luckily - with Crossroads help - "future" just came a lot sooner!

As you can see above- they put together a LOT of garden boxes ahead of time for us. They plan on doing a host of things with this space (corner of Montgomery Rd & Tyne):

* Reclaim disused, vacant, blighted property
* Provide gardening education & programming
* Foster the beautification of public spaces

They're going to have gardening classes, community garden plots, a raise & release butterfly program, a greenhouse, composting area and so much more!!!!

What's this? One of two BIG ASS piles of dirt...part of our task was to move all that into the boxes that the Giving Garden put together.

Pile #2 - oye - can you say daunting? And thanks so much to my volunteers - I had to mark a list of what we needed and what did I forget? Um...shovels. Yes. I'm serious. I let the folks know ahead of time that were volunteering and we had shovels galore!!!! Thanks guys!!!

Before we could put the top soil in the boxes we had to put a layer of gravel in the bottom. The girls decided to pose on top and show our progress on the gravel pile as the first hour or so went on.

We also planted flowers and shrubs along the front and side of the property. Our flower team rocked!

Wheelbarrowing team members brought the gravel down a hill and dumped in the boxes with the help of these guys. Then as the wheelbarrows went back for more - they evened out the boxes.

The pile dwindles...

And dwindles a bit more - I had a team of nearly 30 people. Mine was considered a "major" project. Oye! In my first year even!!! You can sign up for landscaping, painting, serving, fellowship and lots of other things. It's really a great event with something for everyone!

Here's a shot from the parking lot where two of the piles were. The soil would have gone quicker had it not rained the day before. Luckily for us - the rain was only sprinkles on this Saturday. And EVERYBODY worked through the rain without one complaint!

Lysha and I creating our own version of American Gothic. And thank God for Family Dollar across the street - I ran over midway through and got granola bars for the team.

Thirty people - shoveling, wheelbarrowing (down and uphill), dumping, evening, repeat. Amazing stuff.

The boxes at the end of the day - all full! With a little top soil to spare...

Shrubs along their beautiful side wall...

Flowers added to their existing trees.

And the award for dirtiest volunteer of the day went to Ken! He was in the trenches helping the wheelbarrow team dump loads into the boxes - for four hours.

Marla gets runner-up for dirtiest. Her arms were filthy but she wussed out by wearing a poncho! hahah - JUST KIDDING MARLA!

Wow. 

This was a hella-task and our day started early but we all had such a great time. Everybody jumped in and just took care of business. 

Also - Pleasant Ridge & Kennedy Heights are having an Art & the Garden Weekend in June. It features a garden tour of homes in the two neighborhoods. Some of the folks from the Giving Garden have their homes on the tour. I went a couple of years ago and LOVED IT! You might even bump into me on this year's tour - I'm already looking forward to it. 

If you'd like to find out more about working with Giving Garden - email marty@givinggardencincinnati.org. 

And next year - get off your butts and volunteer with Go Cincinnati! You don't have to go to Crossroads to do it - but chances are someone you know did it. We had over 6000 volunteers work on 350 projects around the city. All of us - giving back to this great city - cuz we love Cincinnati! 

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