Impact, Sustainability and Need Meets Passion, Care and Hope
By Jennifer Bourgeois, Ph.D.
Impact, sustainability, and need – when these three ideas collide, you find yourself embarking on a project driven by passion, care and hope.
Each year, the Corona Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Leadership Roundtable (ELR) class takes on the privilege of creating and completing a service project within the Corona community. Through discussion, the ELR class of 2018-2019 articulated whatever project is completed, it should be one to have impact, sustainability and respond to a community need. Many ideas were shared; however, one place within the community stood out meeting all three criteria – Orange Grove High School in the Corona-Norco Unified School District (CNUSD).
Orange Grove High School (OGHS) is an alternative school within CNUSD. The students who attend Orange Grove come from a variety of circumstances to find a home where they can complete their education and graduate with a high school diploma. The school is comprised of about 131 students, of which over 82% are considered in poverty. A large portion of the students also have siblings within the CNUSD schools. Despite the challenges, both economic and otherwise, the students are graduating and continuing to contribute to the Corona community. OGHS showed above an 82% graduation rate last year, which is up over 32% from the previous year. When Principal Kenny Torres was asked what would make a difference in the lives of the students who are working so hard to graduate, he said food. Mr. Torres shared that his students come to school hungry. While the students receive food while at school, they do not always know where their next meal will come from when they get home. Further, he shared that the siblings of his students are also feeling the impact.
When the members of the ELR class of 2018 – 2019 heard that students were having difficulty finding their meals outside of school, they knew where the project needed to be for this year. The class will be working with Renewable Farms to create an Aquaponics Garden at Orange Grove High School.
An Aquaponics Garden is:
A highly sustainable method of producing greens and protein by filtering nutrient rich pond water through raised garden beds. Beneficial nitrifying bacteria in the beds convert the water into fertilizer for the plants to absorb. The plants and bacteria clean the water making happy fish and healthy food. https://youtu.be/4HuRM5ygwZw
The garden, once established (about 2 months), will yield about 150 pounds of produce and about 800 fish on an annual basis. The students will be able to take home the produce and fish to eat with their families.
The ELR class is seeking donations to help make this project come to life and continue throughout the years. We hope you can join in and support a project that will truly impact, provide sustainability in nourishment and meet needs within our community!
Aquaponics Garden Example:
Aquaponics Fish Pool Example:
If you would like to make a donation for a different amount that what is shown, please contact the Chamber office at (951) 737-3350 and we would be happy to help you.