Greenhouse Students Pair with Nonprofit for Service

Greenhouse Students Pair with Nonprofit for Service

Sydney S. '23 and Sophia M. '23 are two of the 17 students in OES's elective Greenhouse Activity this semester. While making "tremendous progress" during clean up of their own greenhouse space for class, the pair decided they wanted to offer their gardening services to others, for community service.

"The most direct way we saw our plant work impacting the community was by helping individuals with their gardens," said Sydney. All-School Equity Coach Willow McCormick recommended the students reach out to a local nonprofit, Taking Ownership PDX, to find a service project.

"We looked into their values and goals and one thing that stuck out to us was that Taking Ownership creates a community of support that is always available and willing to help each other," said Sophia. "Taking Ownership also prioritizes preventing the gentrification in Black communities which is work that needs to be done now more than ever as Portland continues to grow as a city." (See also

For their project, Sydney and Sophia were matched with a senior in northeast Portland, who recently had shoulder surgery and cannot physically manage outdoor work. Prior to the winter break, Sydney, Sophia, and a few other OES students, along with Greenhouse Coordinator Paige Witte, will conduct basic yardwork and beautification in their senior's backyard.

"The work includes organizing the yard, clearing invasive plants, and planting gardens," said Sydney. "This will, hopefully, allow the homeowner to feel more comfortable with her outdoor space. Taking Ownership also has a goal of helping more people age in place, and the work will, hopefully, allow the homeowner to feel more comfortable with her outdoor space to help her stay in her home."

Added Sophia: "We are just trying to do good work in the community. Just like OES's mission statement says, we need to use our power for good.

"We think it is important to reach out and offer our support, knowledge, and skills to work with others and build a stronger community. Service allows us the opportunity to give back to the greater community that surrounds us."