Community gardens are places where value may grow. Nestled at the Tzu Chi Education Campus in Walnut, CA, the Life Science Garden is not only an instructive space for children and families to interact with nature, it offers older adults purpose and connection – what we humans all crave.
Tzu Chi volunteer Wendy Koo explains: “quite a lot of older people, they’re alone at home, so if I bring them here, they could learn things. They’ll see friends, they could talk to them. They could buy [and bring] fruits and vegetables home. They really love that.”
She tells us it’s part of her garden tasks, after looking after the vegetable patches and the fruit trees, to ensure that elder volunteers are engaged. Fellow volunteer Cecilia Chien says that many feel disregarded because of their age and question their own ability to be useful. Yet, she sees them spring into action at the Garden:
“What I was very impressed with today, is that there were two members here; one is over 90 years old, [and] the other one is over 80.”
Cecilia further emphasizes that participating in garden work is much more than pulling weeds, turning soil, and planting seeds. “It’s just like our mind,” she says; “you need to refresh it every day… you need to reflect on yourself and remove the negative parts every day. You’ll be a brand new person the next day. It is also a practice.”
We so appreciate all the older volunteers that join our efforts to teach our students. With your help and support, we can ensure the Garden will flourish to benefit generations to come. Make a donation today donate.tzuchi.us/cause/walkathon or join the Compassion in Action: 2022 Tzu Chi Walkathon at tzuchi.us/walkathon.