New Horticulture Program helps special needs students at the Children's Guild

Brooklyn, Md - Students at The Children's Guild in Brooklyn are learning a lesson in the great outdoors.  It's all part of a new Landscaping and Horticulture Program.

"It gives students job skills so that they can get a job in the community and for our young students they are learning a lot about sustainable environments. Students learn to grow their own food and grow plants. It's about teaching them about the ecosystem and giving back," said Laurie Zimmeroi, Principal The Children's Guild.

The school serves special needs students with Autism, other disabilities and some who suffered a trauma.  The Horticulture and Landscaping Program allows students in Kindergarten to 12th grade to learn about Science with Ecosystems and by planting gardens.

High School students can also participate in a school to work program with landscaping.

"I like to cut grass and I like to plant flowers.  This is a nice program because it teaches you how to work and it teaches you a trade," said Mark Cooper, Senior at The Children's Guild.

Teachers say students have responded well with the hands on learning in the program.  Students enjoy interacting with the environment.  They take pride in their project.

"This provides them an opportunity to know they can contribute to the earth. They are just as important as making the world a better place than everyone else," said Marvin Shiflett, Teacher at The Children's Guild.

Some of the students admit they want a career in Horticulture and Landscaping.  The program gives them a jump start in the right direction.

The Children's Guild Institute is a non-profit child serving organization, which includes special needs schools in Baltimore and Prince George's County.  The Children's Guild operates group homes, foster care programs and mental health programs.



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