Op-Ed

Learning center builds relationships

Students build friendship through common bonds and help each other scaffold learning through diverse experiences at A Watered Garden Family Learning Center.
Students build friendship through common bonds and help each other scaffold learning through diverse experiences at A Watered Garden Family Learning Center. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

A Watered Garden Family Learning Center was established in 2003 and had about six volunteers in 2015.

Purpose: A Watered Garden is a non-profit, faith-based organization dedicated to offering educational and personal growth opportunities to individuals and families. Through building trusting relationships within the community, creative programs are developed which make a difference by opening dialogue and communication between cultures. Individuals and families build capacity to move from poverty to prosperity in their home and community through communication, cooperation and collaboration. Highlighted offerings are English learning, citizenship preparation, basic computer skills, parenting support, women’s development, education for certification in Spanish, Spanish for English speakers and a community garden and nutrition plaza where children and families grow together.

Volunteer highlights: Volunteers who share their time and experience with the learners come from various backgrounds and cultures. Most are students at Western Washington University and are adding capacity to their training for future service. However, when they spend time with the students at A Watered Garden, their hearts are with us at the center. One on one or in a group, each student receives from volunteers, friendship, encouragement, dignity and the opportunity to progress in his or her capacity. Through these volunteer tutors, we have also traveled the world with them, as they share their experiences from abroad with us after serving in our neighborhood.

Signature fundraiser: Food Revolution Day at the end of May.

Wish list: Funds and/or in-kind donations to add an expanded kitchen for the What’s Good For Lunch program for children during the summer. We are thankful for the new computer lab through recent in-kind donations.

Current volunteer needs: Volunteers to help develop fundraisers and marketing would build capacity for additional daytime and evening opportunities for adults and children. Bilingual speakers to facilitate Spanish GED, Spanish for English speakers and first level English.

For more information, go online to awateredgarden.org.

VOLUNTEER MONTH

April was National Volunteer Month and The Bellingham Herald has partnered with the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County to highlight local non-profit agencies that offer opportunities to become involved in our community. For more information online about the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County, go to whatcomvolunteer.org.

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