UWCK partners with Altec, Hardin County Schools on Zen Garden project

Through a partnership between United Way of Central Kentucky (UWCK), Altec Inc. and Hardin County Schools’ College View Campus, volunteers recently completed a new Zen Garden for students to enjoy at College View. Located in Elizabethtown, College View’s mission is to provide a positive therapeutic learning environment that embraces differences while maximizing student potential and preparing them for success in a diverse world.

Through the three-day project, students in the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program at College View worked alongside members of Altec’s Reach Higher Committee. JAG is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reconnecting students academically by helping them overcome barriers to graduation and helping them transition into postsecondary education, the workforce or the military after graduation.

“This initiative perfectly embodies the core principles of JAG, affording students the chance to engage in a transformative activity that both challenges them and nurtures their personal growth, enabling them to strive for excellence and reach their fullest potential, ”said Dr. Samuel Kassinger, JAG Specialist at Hardin County Schools.

Altec’s Reach Higher Committee, a dedicated team of co-op employee volunteers, has collaborated with UWCK on various community endeavors in recent years. These include initiatives such as a courtyard revitalization project at Morningside Elementary School and the construction of a pavilion at the UWCK Community Garden.

“Collaborating with UWCK and Hardin County Schools on projects like this Zen Garden brings us
immense joy. It’s about giving back to the community and creating spaces where students can thrive,” said Amelia McDaniel, Team Leader for the Altec Reach Higher Committee.

JAG students lent their support to Reach Higher Committee volunteers in clearing debris and preparing the ground adjacent to the school building for the Zen Garden project. Together, they laid sod to initiate the garden’s construction. Reach Higher Committee volunteers also constructed benches and tables to enhance seating, erected a pergola for shade and installed a barrier wall. They also addressed an old non-functional coy fish pond, covered it and performed landscaping tasks such as planting trees, flowers, bushes and laying stones to beautify the area.

“At UWCK, we’re passionate about making a difference in the lives of students and families by
facilitating quality collaborations. Seeing the dedication of volunteers and the impact of projects like this Zen Garden is truly inspiring,” said UWCK President & CEO Christa Shouse.