Students at La Tijera Academy of Excellence Charter School in Inglewood returned to school this week to find a new learning opportunity on campus – a community garden.
“So many kids that live in the city don’t have any sense of where food comes from,” said Janet Clayton, senior vice president of Corporate Communications at Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison. “We want to help them connect the dots to how food is grown and how it ends up on our tables.”
Recently, SCE volunteers partnered with the Social Justice Learning Institute, a nonprofit in Los Angeles, to build tiered gardens at the school – two tiers for each grade level.
Students will now be able to learn about food science in class and then tie it to hands-on learning in the garden.
La Tijera teachers encouraged students to wake up early on a Saturday and join the volunteer effort.
“I wanted to help out because if we can get this to grow successfully, we could go and plant other places in the community so people could eat healthy,” said Carolyn, a seventh grade student.
The volunteer effort was organized by SCE’s Networkers African-American focused employee resource group. The group also coordinated a backpack and school supply drive, collecting more than $1,000 in supplies.
The supplies were delivered to the Social Justice Learning Institute along with a $5,000 Edison International grant. Many of the supplies will be given to La Tijera students.
Giving back to the community is important to SCE employees, who collectively volunteered more than 168,000 hours in 2015. Edison International also provided more than $11.8 million in grants supporting education.
Inglewood Mayor James Butts and California Assemblywoman Autumn Burke attended the event and recognized the efforts of Edison and the Social Justice Learning Institute as being integral to the Inglewood community.
“They have changed the perception of environmental justice here in Inglewood and allowed us access to a lot of opportunities that we would’ve never had,” Burke said.