Garfield YMCA Celebrates Healthy Kids Day at Jewel Street Community Garden Ribbon Cutting

Some things are meant to be, and the weather, the sky, the energy and attendance all pointed to the Jewel Street Community Garden on April 27th, 2013.

A bright blue, sunny, cloud-free sky made for a perfect Healthy Kids Day. The community participated in all kinds of fun-filled events like family Zumba, cooking, and swimming. One of the more exciting parts of the day was a super hero parade that left from the Garfield YMCA, located at 33 Outwater Lane, to the Jewel Street Garden located just a few blocks away for a ribbon cutting ceremony and garden activities. Prior to the parade, families made signs (that the children colored) of all of the community partners that made this garden possible and carried them to the garden.

Families brought seedlings that they had nurtured for the previous week to the garden for planting. Children had the opportunity to plant their seedlings in the garden, participate in face painting and yoga.

Other notable event participants included: Garfield City Mayor Joseph Delaney, Garfield YMCA CEO Patricia Gallagher, Garfield YMCA Marketing Director Marisa Barcia, Garfield YMCA Youth Activities Director Denise Pangilinan, Garfield City Nurse Darleen Reveille, Garden State Urban Farms owner Lorraine Gibbons, and Bergen County 4-H Leader Denise Montessori, along with Board Members of the Garfield YMCA and nearly 100 community participants.

Children and families had the opportunity to walk through the garden after the ribbon cutting to see the Earth Boxes up close, to see the plants growing and many expressed their excitement about urban farming and the need for access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

It may be rare to witness such a collaborative effort take flight so quickly. This project started in January of 2013, and less than 4 months, a garden is blooming in the City of Garfield. The City is extremely fortunate to have agencies, organizations, and individuals who formed an extraordinary partnership to get things done.

The Garfield YMCA is grateful to be working with wonderful partners who ALL strive to create and sustain opportunities that are socially responsible, lead to healthy living and develop our youth, which are the Y’s 3 areas of focus. The Jewel Street Garden would not be possible without the F.U.N. collaborative.

Thank you to Shaping NJ for the mini-grant award! Our community members voiced their vote of approval on this project! Everyone LOVES the garden!

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