Project Health: Breaking Ground was a success! This project is critical because research suggest that community gardens provide numerous health benefits, including improved access to food, improved nutrition, increased physical activity and improved mental health on the youth and community as well as promote social health and community cohesion. Outdoor classrooms can also enhance and enforce school curriculum, student engagement, and student performance. We are very proud of the support from this event and we can’t wait to move forward this school year! #dekalbkidsproject #projecthealth If you would like to be involved inbox us now! We are looking for more ways to partner!
On a muggy Saturday morning, several Eldridge L. Miller Elementary teachers, former students and children partnered to create an outside classroom to create a new way of learning.
With the help of DeKalb Kids Project, volunteers and a few teachers at Eldridge L. Miller Elementary transformed a plot of land next to the school into an outdoor classroom and greenhouse.
Kenneth Cowser, owner of Quality Precision Concepts, was a sponsor for the project and helped build the school’s newest amenities.
“I want to try to do anything to beautify our community,” Cowser said. “I can still vividly remember people who helped me when I was younger. They made an impact on my life and impacted my character of who I am today, so I definitely wanted to make that same impact for somebody else.”
Cowser is a former student of E.L. Miller and said it’s important for him to give back to the community any way he can. He said he was excited to help transform the school’s green space into something beautiful.
“Shoot, I remember 20 years ago we were out here playing,” said Cower, laughing. “I remember walking from class here every day going to gym class. This is really major to get to see this positive transformation.”
Cowser said he became involved with the project through his childhood friend and current DeKalb County Schools board member Diijon DaCosta—also a former student of E.L Miller.
DaCosta, a 1996 graduate of E.L. Miller, said the purpose of the project is to help children learn how to produce their own food as well as learn the value of hard work.
“The goal is to tie the community back to the school so we can have a better partnership,” DaCosta said. “The teachers will build this into the curriculum and the kids will start to plant seeds once the school year starts.”
DaCosta also helps run non-profit organization DeKalb Kids Project. According to organization officials, the organization is “focused solely on transforming the minds of the youth to become better leaders.”
DaCosta said the organization helps the DeKalb community every Saturday.
“Our goal is to bridge the gap. That’s why you see so many different age groups out here. Everybody out here right now either went to the school, is going to the school or graduated from the school,” DaCosta said. “We just want to teach them to give back. They could be doing anything in the world right now, but they’re out here at 7 a.m. in the morning and we won’t stop till the job is done.”
DeKalb Kids Project said the new outdoor classroom is part of a transformation at the school.
Bryant, who helped mix concrete and guide volunteers during the building process, said he wants to teach his students “survival skills” they can use later in life. Bryant said during his tenure as principal students have gone on several field trips each year and developed valuable social skills.
“It builds character for them,” Bryant said. “I’m a product of DeKalb. I’m in education because of my former teachers. I’m one of those statistics that shouldn’t have made it. Our kids [at E.L. Miller] have grown so much socially and emotionally. When you talk about development, it’s not just about test scores.”
We are a nonprofit organization focused solely on transforming the minds of the youth to become better leaders. We are passionate about academic excellence and strive to find creative outlets for the youth. We are establish relationships within the homes, community, and schools and we provide positive support to the youth to inspire hope and create change.
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Our mission: To build projects for our youth of DeKalb to become better leaders!