One of the BGCHC’s biggest concerns with reopening was the lack of an outdoor play area for its members. COVID-19 regulations prohibited field trips and contact sports, restricted youth’s movement throughout the building, and enforced social distancing—making for a difficult summer for children confined to one classroom throughout the day.
Mack-Cali Realty Corporation stepped up and donated a large plot of land within walking distance of the Jersey City Clubhouse to create a popup garden and outdoor learning space. Within a matter of weeks, Board members, alumni and staff stepped up and raised over $30,0000 in an online fundraiser to purchase the all of the supplies and materials to make it a reality.
This urban oasis has now been completed with the labor of volunteers and staff. Thirty raised planting beds and Learning Steps were built. Flowers and vegetables were planted and nurtured. Youth have been engaged in STEAM activities including building an irrigation system and painting a mural. The garden has provided an outplace place for our youth and allowed them to garden, read, learn, create arts and crafts activities, play games, and enjoy the fresh air in a safe and secure area only open to the Club. Teen youth have been able to have paid employment to build and maintain the garden through our workforce development program.