So What Happened During 2020-21?
With school mostly not in session, and virtual interactions with students not possible, most of our UUCP Maryland School Partnership volunteers were out of a job! A few volunteers were able to interact with refugee families when they came to a distribution point for breakfast and lunch materials and respond to needs for hygiene and clothing, as well as laptops for several families so parents could enroll in English language programs. In addition, a group of families were provided with gifts and food at the winter holiday season.
The garden continued to prosper; the raised boxes and entire irrigation system were replaced in October; students planted when they were in person briefly during November and did a small amount of harvesting when they returned in March. They were not able to do the usual cooking of what they harvested, but took vegetables home, and during the year produce was distributed to refugee families. Through the Blue Watermelon Project, which connects local chefs to school gardens, three different grade levels received garden activity boxes to pick up during the year, with video instructions and materials for cooking and growing a particular vegetable. Plans are currently in the works for expanding the school outdoor education program next year, including staff development, with two grants in place.
Beatitudes Campus residents again wrote notes of appreciation to teachers, the art department at Maryland prepared an exhibit of art to be displayed at the campus (quite a feat to collect pieces from students who did them at home), and the campus catered a Teacher Appreciation luncheon in early May of 2021.
Looking Toward 2021-22
We are looking forward with hope to being able to be back at Maryland School in person this fall, and are once again looking for volunteers and other support from UUCP members, including help with our annual collection of school supplies to help out the many low-income and refugees families that attend Maryland school. We hope you will be able to support our efforts. If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.