Setting another plant into the soil, senior Maggie Scannell does what she has been doing for most of her life: helping others. Scannell is a devoted volunteer that gives her time to the community in many ways. She is an active member of Girl Scouts and continuously tries to make a difference.
“Volunteering really puts your life in perspective,” said Scannell, a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.”
One of her latest opportunities was to create a garden for the Steil Club, one of the several locations for Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth. Scannall had much to say about this project but talked most about how blessed she was.
“I have been so blessed to even come across this opportunity, and to work with so many people and businesses that have been supportive since day one,” Scannell said.
According to Scannell, she wouldn’t been able to provide this amazing opportunity without the help of Koetziers Greenhouse and Thornapple River Nursery. Both companies helped finance the $600 garden.
To get started with her garden, Scannell contacted Camp O’Malley, the summer camp affiliated with Boys and Girls Club, to see if they had any project needs. Boys and Girls Clubs are places where kids can go after school and do their homework, play games, and do crafts in a fun, supportive, environment. The Steil Club, one of the several Boys and Girls Clubs, was in need of a garden.
She had no idea how to make a low maintenance garden. Fortunately, she found a perfect way to do what she wanted while combining the club’s needs by building a square foot garden.
“Essentially, a square foot garden is made for the underdeveloped countries who need efficient ways of getting fresh vegetables in small spaces,” Scannell said.
The garden consists of of six 2’ by 6’ and four 4’ by 4’ boxes. The idea behind this garden is not only to bring vegetables to the Steil Club to feed the underprivileged kids but to also show the kids how to complete projects like this.
Director Erin Crison said that it helps to educate other kids about the importance of gardening and farming natural foods. Also, she added that it is great for the community because it helps beautify the neighborhood.
“It helps by educating another generation of youth on the importance of farm to table and fresh produce versus processed foods,” Crison said.
Scannell volunteers in many other aspects of the community which Crison says is a very important part of The Boys and Girls Clubs’ success.
“Giving back to your community is a critical component to the success of our nation,” Crison said.
Others thing Scannell participates in are annual runs in the community, the Ada Farmers Market, Homes of Hope, HELP Pregnancy Crisis Center and many more. Senior Monica Smolinski is also an avid volunteer, and they frequently volunteer together.
Smolinski and Scannell said that they like the environment that they are in while volunteering. They said that you meet the nicest people who truly just love being there. Another thing they like about volunteering is that you don’t get anything for it, you just do it to help people.
“Volunteering is just having fun while helping people,” Smolinski said. “ It’s bigger than yourself and it goes unanswered,”
Scannell even went as far to say that any form of volunteering is good volunteering. She said that. someone, somewhere, somehow will benefit, and enjoy it more than you ever will know.
“I can’t express how thankful for every volunteering opportunity I am give,” Scannell said. “I am truly blessed.”