Missy Searcy pushes tiller through hard ground.
Missy Searcy takes on a tiller.



United Way’s Day of Action always brings out a big team from INB. On a recent late summer day, we used all of our people power to build elevated garden boxes for genHkids in the Johnson Park Place area to use to grow their own vegetables.

It always takes a few minutes to get acclimated and pick the best way to get the job done. Just like our day-to-day work, we’re looking for efficiency.  But with only one tiller and very hard ground underneath our feet, Missi Searcy stepped up and said, “I’ll use it!” Luckily, Dennis Brasier was right behind her to lend a little muscle to the machine’s starter. Once he got it going and kept it going, Missi began to break through hard soil on bed one of four.

GenHkids Program Administrator Reveca Conteras had done her work before our team of 20 plus showed up. She’d marked the space for the plots, had a huge pile of dirt delivered, brought in “experts” to show our team how to build the boxes, and had a paint station set up so we could add some color to garden’s new home.

As Missi and others took turns with the tiller, Caeri Chiaro, Tiffany Baker, Aimee Craft, Gretchen Cromwell, Corey Kates, Rebecca Price and Candee Arvin got a lesson on how to build a raised garden plot.

Dirt hauling required some heavy lifting and the ability to balance a wheelbarrow.  Lindsay Van Zele and I failed, losing part of a load. Luckily, we had people who can put “successfully haul dirt in a wheelbarrow” on their resumes.  Thank you Richard Lewis, Steve Miller, Lisa Pasley, Kate Francis, and Kelley Himmelberg.

While all this was happening, the paint team was getting its creativity on as they turned pallets into signage that now surrounds the gardens. Thanks Melissa Guy, Sam Cullen and Sarah Stahly! The team also took to the raised beds themselves and changed brown to WOW. The garden definitely stands out.

And what’s a vegetable garden without vegetables? The INB team helped plant all kinds of fall crops like spinach, beets, carrots and Brussel sprouts.

Group picture with team standing behind the four, colorful garden beds.

Our handiwork!

This colorful genHkids garden is now ready for the kids of Johnson Park Place to take over. The staff will show the kids how to care for the garden and then harvest and prepare their bounty. In the end, genHkids will meet its mission:  To create a generation of healthy kids through education, empowerment, improved nourishment and increased physical activity.” And we did our part. Helping our community grow. Albeit in a little different way than a typical day in the office.

raised gardens

Corey Cates and Rebecca Price pound a stake that will keep the raised bed in place.

Corey Cates and Rebecca Price make sure the raised bed stays in place.

group building the forth of four beds

Building raised beds took many hands.

Aimee Craft building a raised garden bed on a hot day.

Aimee Craft helps build a raised garden bed.

brightly colored pallet reads "Come Grow with Us."

A finished, painted pallet

Melissa Guy knees while painting a pallet seafoam green.

Melissa Guy begins working on a blank pallet.