DEL NORTE— High Valley Community Center has about 25 students in their teen program this year and their focus is going to be on beautifying the Del Norte area throughout the summer. Over the last several years, local resident Suzanne Gosar has taken it upon herself to do what is referred to as “Gorilla Gardening.” The term loosely refers to someone who is willing to weed and declutter an area whenever the need arises in a community. Gosar recently decided to pass the torch along to the students at HVCC and the result so far has been wonderful.
“At the beginning of the year, I approached the city and asked for their permission to help teach a class through the High Valley Center to show the children how to take pride in their community. The city agreed that if the program went well, they would donate money to the center at the end of the summer that would go towards the teen program,” said Gosar. The City of Del Norte was pleased to help Gosar educate and show the teens what it means to take pride in their community and offered a $500 donation as incentive.
Teens from the center have been doing a myriad of tasks around town and can be seen Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays traveling with their wagons full of water jugs and other gardening tools that they use to care for planters, pull weeds, look after the Memorial Pocket Park next to the police station and upkeep the entire yard at the Del Norte Public Library. “They plan to work throughout the summer on various projects to beautify the Del Norte community. They are inspirational and yes, they are the solution,” said Gosar.
Other projects the teens will be working on will include painting benches, sprucing up the sidewalks and clearing areas of weeds, feeding 22 memorial planters placed along Main Street in honor of the late Mark Jones and anything else that may arise in the meantime. Each teen is given certain duties to fulfill throughout the summer program that will help bring out the beauty in Del Norte as well as teach the students the benefits of hard work and pride within their community.
In addition to the volunteer gardening, the center will be focusing on teaching their older students the fundamentals of obtaining future employment. The teen program has been used in previous years and has proven to be quite successful. Teens at the center are placed in positions within the facility to perform basic job duties such as front desk, kitchen staff and other positions. The center is also helping teens learn how to make mock resumes and perform mock interviews to help prepare them for future job searches.
“We are really hoping they will take something away from this project and will use it in the future to show pride in their community,” finished Gosar. The center is in full swing for the summer, with fun and educational activities three days a week.