Hi, my name is Michael Little. I am a freshman at the University of Houston, and a member of the Bonner Leader Program. That's all good and fine you might say, but what exactly is the Bonner Leader Program?
In essence, it is a program that provides students with the opportunity to serve their communities by working with various organizations in a mutual effort to better their communities. The program understands the importance of community involvement and places emphasis on the practice of learning through service.
The program was founded in 1990 by Corella and Bertram Bonner as a scholarship program that provided financial assistance to students in exchange for them performing community service. The program has since grown, with active chapters in universities across the country. The University of Houston chapter is currently in its first year of service. This summer, incoming freshman who had been accepted into the Honors College at the University were invited to apply to the organization. From the pool of applicants, myself and 29 other students were selected for the program.
As for my role in the program, I am serving as an intern for Urban Harvest, an organization that works with the community to organize community gardens, farmers markets, and school programs. With Urban Harvest, I am helping teach a class of children at a local elementary school with Urban Harvest visiting garden educator, Sherry Cruse. The children are able to learn about different plants, as well as soil, weather, and sustainable living by working in a garden on their school grounds, maintained by Urban Harvest in partnership with the school garden team.
I am also helping manage the community garden at the University of Houston. We are in the process of renovating the garden, and hope to turn it into a place where students can relax and socialize, while at the same time providing a physical example of the importance of sustainable living. Those are my main two projects, though I also volunteer at various other events sponsored by Urban Harvest, as the occur.
Over the next four years, I will continue to serve as an intern at Urban Harvest. During this time, I will continue to help manage the campus garden, and also have plans for creating a second garden on campus, as well as redoing an existing rooftop garden on the campus. I will also continue to build my relationship with the Urban Harvest team, and work on many more exciting projects as the opportunities appear.
By Michael Little
Urban Harvest Bonner Leader Program Intern 2013-2014
Editor's note: Michael is one of three Bonner Interns from the class of 2017 who have selected Urban Harvest as their organization for community engagement. Michael will periodically blog on the student gardening projects happening in the Peck Elementary School Community Garden.