2011 Reading Garden Challenge Recap

2011 Leapwood Avenue Elementary School Reading Garden

Bright and early on the morning of April 28, 2011, more than 100 volunteers from the LA Galaxy, The Home Depot Center, The Home Depot, Watson Land Company and Levy Restaurants gathered at Leapwood Avenue Elementary School in Carson to build the Reading Garden the students had won through the Los Angeles Galaxy Foundation, The Home Depot Center Charitable Foundation and The Home Depot’s Reading Garden Challenge. The day culminated a week’s worth of preparation which included sanding, priming, and delivery of the day’s supplies and materials.

The volunteers checked in and were treated to refreshments donated by Noah’s Bagels – Manhattan Beach, Starbuck’s - Carson (Avalon & Del Amo), and the Foundations.  After the ceremonial ground breaking, the volunteers were divided in to teams – painting, planting, staining, and grounds crew. The teams were hard at work staining the garden’s custom-made benches and planters, painting the garden’s wall, aligning poles and the surrounding tables and bins located in front of the library, planting flowers around nearby trees and prepping the grass area for the planters. Additionally, students from select classrooms and the Reading Garden poster winners helped to paint pots for the garden as well as plant seeds to take home. By noon, everyone was ready for a break and lunch courtesy of Panera Bread – Carson and Torrance.

After lunch, the pace picked up to complete the garden in time. The volunteers put the finishing touches on the staining and painting, adding decorative touches to the tables and benches. The grounds crew was in full force measuring, sawing and placing the timbers for the garden’s hand-made planters with the planting team close behind pouring soil and putting the flowers in place. With the planters in, the arches and arbor took their place in the garden and the benches and banner were positioned.

As the garden neared completion, Galaxy players Landon Donovan, Todd Dunivant and Mike Magee stopped by to put the finishing touches on the garden by planting jasmine with students and the last of the flowers. Tamala Lewis, The Home Depot Center Charitable Foundation Director made a few remarks including recognizing the donation of outdoor cushions by Lakeshore Learning Materials as well as Gloria King, Los Angeles Galaxy Foundation Director, who donated Wild Soccer Bunch books on behalf of the foundation for every Leapwood student. Following the remarks, the players led the official board cutting ceremony declaring the garden officially open and read Wild Soccer Bunch books to the students.

The end result was a beautiful Reading Garden for the Leapwood Avenue Elementary School students to encourage a life-long love of reading.