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Big Brothers Big Sisters of McKean County facilitated a summer group event on July 5 hosted by McKean County Probationâ€™s Good Growing Gardens in Smethport.
Educational activities included a presentation and discussion by Adult Probation Officer Mike Barnard about the history of the grounds, originally the site of Smethport's Poor Farm, created in 1884 to house and rehabilitate indigent persons. Officer Barnard also discussed the mission of Good Growing Gardens which is to provide community service opportunities to offenders in the criminal justice system, help offset the cost of meals for inmates housed in the McKean County Jail, and to provide volunteer opportunities and organic vegetables and flowers to the local community as well.
Participants enjoyed a "hands on" learning and community service opportunity with Officer Barnard by planting and watering sunflowers. Participants also learned the basics of gardening and were given a tour of the grounds. For their work in the garden, participants gratefully accepted an aloe vera plant to take home.
After the garden tour participants met at the Smethport Family Center and learned about proper hand washing techniques, balanced nutrition, and created and enjoyed personalized 'veggie pizzas'.
The event concluded with participants creating a summer journaling craft with their Big or parent.
If you would like to experience this kind of mentoring opportunity with a child in your community, please contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of McKean County locally at 887-5591 or toll free at 1-877-776-1636.