Student-led project provides eco-restoration of community garden

Apr 18, 2009

Niagara College Event Management students, with a group of volunteers, completed an environmentally-friendly restoration of the HOPE Centre’s Sprouting Hope Community Garden on Saturday, April 18 as part of the 12th Annual Many Hands Project.

The project included an expansion of the garden to provide additional plots, an installation of a fence, a shed to store tools, water barrels to collect rainwater and more.

“We are thrilled for the expansion of the garden, which helps to provide food for the food bank and kitchen here at the HOPE Centre” said Aaron Hussey, Executive Director of the Hope Centre. “We appreciate all the hard work that the students and volunteers have put forth. We’re looking forward to further planting seeds of hope.”

More than 80 volunteers participated in the eco-restoration, including Niagara College faculty members Gary Dolch, with his Construction Techniques class and Mike Hoeksta, with his Horticulture and Landscaping class. Welland’s Centennial High school, Canadian Tire Financial Services and the Hope Centre’s employees and clients also provided volunteers for the project.

“The Many Hands project allows our students to gain valuable hands-on experience in their field of student, and they also learn important lessons about giving back to their community, and using their skills to enhance the lives of others,” said Shelley Merlo, professor and coordinator of the College’s Event Management program.

Based in Welland, the HOPE Centre provides a full continuum of services and support to individuals and families struggling with poverty-related issues, and are committed to building and strengthening the Welland community by attending to the basic needs of the marginalized citizens, and by advocating change in existing social structure which contribute to poverty, homelessness, and compromised health. Its Hope Garden, located at the Niagara College Welland Campus, is an initiative developed in partnership with Leadership Niagara.

Many Hands, now in its twelfth year, is a one-day community-driven project organized by Niagara College students as part of the Event Management post-graduate program. The project involves selecting a not-for-profit organization for an eco-friendly restoration of an outdoor space. The Event Management students planned all aspects of the project, which takes place leading up to Earth Day, utilizing environmentally-friendly products. For more information on the Many Hands initiative, visit


For more information, contact:

Jaime Riley
Marketing Coordinator
Many Hands Project
905-641-2252, ext. 4233

Adam Hogan
Marketing Coordinator
Many Hands Project
905-641-2252, ext. 4233

Shelley Merlo
Event Management Program
Niagara College
905-641-2252, ext. 4233


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