Harvesting Friendship

A unique community collaboration has evolved at Sioux Empire United Way funded agency, DakotAbilities. The Alternative Services/Meaningful Day programming provides social and recreational opportunities to people with disabilities to provide meaningful connections to their community and better their quality of life. One component is the agency's community garden, in collaboration with Ground Works. Community member Natalie is just one volunteer to contribute time assisting with the garden.

Natalie has been assisting Shirley in working on the garden together for two years. They love working on the garden, not only growing vegetables, but also growing a friendship. They enjoy being outside and working on the garden with Natalie’s family. Their time together is enriching to everyone involved. Everyone tells jokes and shares stories of what is going on in their lives. Natalie enjoys volunteering and being a mentor because she loves to teach Shirley how to grow items in the garden. Shirley loves working on the garden and seeing all the harvest at the end of the season! They will pick the harvest and pile it high on Shirley’s tray. Shirley really enjoys bringing the harvest home, cooking it up and telling Natalie how she cooked it. Through the garden, the relationship between Natalie and Shirley continues to grow.

A bountiful harvest indeed! The garden is just one of many opprotunities DakotAbilities provide for meaningful activites. Additional opportunities include community events, farm visits, music and art sessions, and more. Last year, 15,360 hours of service were provided to over 59 individuals. To learn more about how your gift to Sioux Empire United Way is helping vulnerable adults, click here.