When I first moved to Bloomington, many folks told me to check out the Community Orchard. They talked about the strawberries and the apples, the pears and the flowers, the bees and the blackberries, and so much more, but most boasted about  of all  were the amazing people who helped establish and run it.  My first summer here, I was there almost every single day. I’d  work on my first ever garden plot that my wife and I were renting just across the street, then jaunt through the forest, and finish off the trip by appreciating (snacking on) a few delicious treats grown by the community of this town for this town.   So when I found out that they would be interested in taking one of the Poetry for Trash stations that the kids from the Boys and Girls Club helped put together, I was thrilled!

Truth be told: this station was assembled and painted by the Boys and Girls club kids, who loved working with power tools, but it was the result of the efforts of so many other hands as well, as the inside panel details:

This poetry for trash station was designed  by the Hope Builders, a local group of men who do pro-bono carpentering work for various organizations across the city. They’re the ones who taught the kids how to use the power tools.  And Craig, one of the Hope Builders, poured the cement after giving me tips on how deep and wide to dig the hole:


The front panels were  painted by a group of volunteers on Ivy Tech’s O’bannon day of service: .

I am so thankful to the Community Orchard for opening up their arms to this project and giving a place for the work of all these hands to reach others.   Ms. Aaryn, the Program Director of the Boys and Girls Club, helped coordinate the field trip to the Orchard with the kids and her assistants were so essential to making our class activities run well:

As I was leaving the Club, Ms. Aaryn said one of the most encouraging things about Poetry for Trash I’ve heard this whole year when she said that these stations are good for the kids who are often just  trying to find a way to be helpful, and that in the years to come,  as a reward for being good, they’ll be able to make poems and pick up trash.  I love that.  Also, you should see how amazing Ms. Aaryn  and her staff are with teaching those precious children manners, communication skills, diligence and other healthy habits.  They are among some of the hardest working, kind, and patient people I have met.


I am so thankful to the Club, The Hope Builders, The O’Bannon Day of Service volunteers, The Rhinos Program,  and the wonderful folks from the Bloomington Community Orchard for giving us one of the most beautiful spaces imaginable to share our love for poetry, the planet, and our community.

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