Amy Pierce, 18, of Macon, Ga., a senior at Central High School, developed a gardening program at an elementary school for children with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. Amy, who works part-time in her family’s landscaping business, was looking for a service project that could combine her horticultural skills with her desire to help the children attending the special-needs school across the street from her home. “I wanted the kids to get outside and take pride in something,” said Amy. So she met with the elementary school’s principal and found a teacher there who agreed to sponsor what became known as the “Campus Beautification Club.” Amy researched and developed projects for the club, solicited ideas from the students, and persuaded several companies to donate materials. As the students worked on their landscaping projects, they learned about nature and the environment, and have also applied their experiences to their math, English and art classes. Perhaps even more importantly, they realized they could be good at something, and take pride in their accomplishments. One boy told Amy he wanted “to make the campus pretty so people will think it’s not just a school for bad kids,” she said. “That’s when I realized this meant more than just planting some flowers.”
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