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Friday, May 4, 2012

Inside Thomson Elementary Part III: Teaming up with Jamba Juice!

This spring, Gabby Ingersoll, a student at American University, is volunteering for DC SCORES by spending each Monday afternoon with the poet-athletes at Thomson Elementary School observing them as they go through the stages of their service-learning project.

Each week, Gabby will write about her first-hand experience with the Thomson students as they strive to make improvements to their school and greater community.

See pictures from Gabby’s trips to Thomson on Flickr.


Our fabulous students at Thomson Elementary were recently chosen to receive a grant provided by one of the nation’s leading health and wellness brands, Jamba Juice, in partnership with the National GardeningAssociation (NGA). 

Each year, in honor of Earth Day, the “It’s All About the Fruits and Veggies” grant is awarded to school and community gardening initiatives across the country. This year, Thomson was chosen as one of three schools in the District to receive the grant to support their gardening programming. 

A special event was hosted last Thursday by Jamba Juice Chairman and CEO, James D. White, and the NGA at City Blossoms’ Girard Children’s Community Garden. When I arrived at the event, our Thomson team was sitting right beside Mr. White and Mike Metallo, President of the NGA. 

After the Chairman and President shared a couple of words with the audience about the benefits of consuming more fruits and veggies, the awards were distributed by Jamba Juice’s very own bananaman. DC SCORES coach Pharis Owens gave a warm thanks to Margaret Fineran, the creator of Thomson’s rooftop garden. 

“I am so proud to say I was a part of Thomson’s first harvesting this semester,” Owens said. “Without Margie’s guidance, none of this would have been possible.”

After the awards were given, the kids were informed that they would, in fact, be doing some gardening right then and there! A station had been set up in the back of the gymnasium, where tables were covered with pots already full of soil and an array of seeds to be planted.
Before running back to plant the seeds, special guest Ashley Robinson, center for the Washington Mystics, made her way to the podium. Although it was her first day gardening, Ashley knew she had the Thomson team fully behind her. 

Through her experience in the WNBA, Ashley said, “Much like basketball, with gardening you have to get down and dirty, work as a team, and when you do that … something beautiful is going to come out of it.”

As the students anxiously waited to plant their seeds, Ashley asked them to make one promise to her before doing so — eat healthy, garden and be active. With many nods of agreement, the kids were finally ready to plant!

I walked around the different tables that were set up, all with plenty of seed packets for everyone. Omar and Samuel decided to plant watermelon seeds to bring back to the garden, a very smart move since summer is rapidly approaching. Nora wanted to plant sunflower seeds, one of my favorite flowers. 

Ashley went around to the different tables as the kids taught her the basics of gardening. And although she broke a nail in the midst of the excitement, she continued to “get down & dirty.” 

Once the seeds had been planted in each student’s respective pot, the smoothies were distributed! The berry mixture was slurped down by Samuel, who, in turn, received quite the brain freeze. 

The event showed the Thomson Elementary team that their hard work really does pay off. With such an incredible experience coming to a close, the students were motivated, more than ever, to keep up the good work.

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