“Everyone stop!” garden volunteer Janice Payne Bailey said a little sternly. She was the lone garden volunteer up against 21 energetic fourth graders. It was the last day of harvest at Libby Booth elementary, and she was outnumbered. But she had to keep the kids from digging up everything in the garden!
“Now watch Helen,” Janice said. “She’s going to dig up the last root vegetable.”
Helen is a sweet girl who has a learning disability. The other fourth graders can treat her differently, but now they gathered around her. She dug into the soil with a trowel.
Janice wondered what Helen would unearth. There wasn’t enough foliage to give away the root veggie’s identity, but she knew it was different from the other vegetables the kids had already harvested.
“Wow!” Janice gasped as Helen retrieved from the depths of the garden bed one beautiful and perfect red onion. “What a surprise!”
The kids fed off of Janice’s excitement. They made Helen feel special, and when she went back to class for the tasting portion of the hour, she continued to blossom.
She couldn’t seem to stop talking about her onion.
“I just love working with these kids,” Janice said with a laugh, “even though sometimes they make me crazy.”
Janice, like Helen, couldn’t stop smiling. The garden volunteer said Helen’s harvest experience warmed her heart.