Editor’s Note: The below post was originally featured on the Dolenan Office of Community-Based Learning Blog on April 16, 2020. You can find the original post at https://communitybasedlearning.me.holycross.edu/2020/04/16/continuing-with-cbl-remotely-will-mcavoy-20/.
I have been offered the opportunity to stay in touch with my resident at St. Mary, Vicky, over the past few weeks. The Activities Coordinator at St. Mary, Sandy Geller, has graciously offered her phone as a means to conduct Facebook videocalls. Every week at our scheduled time to visit, Vicky and I have had either a video call or a phone call. It has been great to stay in touch, and I am thankful for Sandy in making this happen!
One thing that I definitely am missing is the garden at St. Mary. Last spring, another Holy Cross student (Megan Treanor ’20) and I applied for a Marshall Grant to establish a garden at St. Mary. We were awarded nearly a thousand dollars to implement a wheelchair-accessible garden where all residents would be able to grow their own fruits and veggies as well as get their hands dirty if they wanted. Vicky was one of the residents who led the charge on this activity, offering her guidance from decades of managing her own garden at her home.
Last year was our first year, so there definitely were some challenges to overcome. However, the garden was a huge success with many residents, Holy Cross students, and families of residents, participating in cultivating the garden. Several residents told Sandy that they now had a purpose in life. Megan and I were proud to have made such a big impact and are thankful for all that helped make the garden such a success.
I was excited for this spring to really grow a fantastic garden. With the current situation, it doesn’t look as if that is going to occur. But one thing is certain: I know for a fact though that once this time of social distancing comes to an end, Sandy, Vicky, and many of the other residents will be outside at the garden. In the meantime, I look forward to staying in touch with Vicky via phone.
To the current CBL students reading this, I would recommend that you reach out to your community partner. Maybe a phone call is something that could be facilitated for your site. You never know until you ask!