FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHILADELPHIA, PA, May 26, 2015 — Weavers Way Community Programs will officially open Hope Farm at Martin Luther King High School, and celebrate its horticultural therapy program for special students there, with a ribbon-cutting and garden party Thursday, May 28.
The party starts at 10 a.m. in the garden adjacent to MLK High School, 6100 Stenton Ave., at Stenton and Haines street in Germantown. (See map.)
The autistic and intellectually disabled students WWCP works with are making refreshments for the attendees, and will give tours of the MLK greenhouse and newly installed outdoor garden rows, plant seeds for guests to take home and display some of their projects from the school year.
The nonprofit WWCP, which provides urban farming and nutrition education for underserved children and families, partnered with MLK High in 2014 to launch the Hope Farm at MLK. Over the school year, WWCP educators worked with autistic and intellectually disabled students in the MLK greenhouse, helping them practice valuable life skills — following multi-step directions, completing tasks cooperatively, trying new things — by planting, growing and harvesting vegetables.
“In establishing the Hope Farm at Martin Luther King High School, WWCP and MLK teachers, aides and administrators have demonstrated what can be accomplished when we put the needs of students at the forefront of our thinking and then take action to meet those needs,” said WWCP Executive Director Jill Fink. “In a short period of time, we’ve seen students not only develop practical life skills that prepare them to live independently, but also gain more confidence as they learn new things.”
The program is the only one of its kind in a Philadelphia public school.
"I am so grateful for organizations like Weavers Way Community Programs that provide children in the 8th District with skills for life,” said City Councilwoman Cindy Bass. “Children with intellectual disabilities face a unique set of challenges, but thanks to partnerships like that between Weavers Way Community Programs and Martin Luther King High School, students are able to learn about healthy living and gain tools that will benefit them in all aspects of their lives."
The ribbon-cutting marks the official opening of the outdoor garden, which just went under cultivation this spring, greatly expanding Hope Farm at MLK, and also kicks off a fundraiser to build a shade structure and buy picnic tables for outdoor lessons and workshops.
Martin Luther King Principal William C. Wade and Councilwoman Bass will speak, along with WWCP Executive Director Fink. The public is invited, and WWCP staff, board and donors, Weavers Way staff and board and MLK students, teachers and administrators will be on hand to celebrate the occasion.
About WWCP: Weavers Way Community Programs empowers children, youth and families with the values and knowledge to be healthy, strong and informed through experiential activities centered on urban agriculture, nutrition and the cooperative economy. For more about WWCP’s other programs, visit www.weaversway.coop/wwcp.