On Saturday May 19th, the Nationalities Service Center (NSC) and the Philadelphia Migrant Education Program hosted a Spring Garden Celebration at our main community garden. It turned out to be a huge success with over 150 people in attendance, and a great time was had by all. Thanks to all the board members, staff, Congressional Award students, volunteers, and partners who helped make this event a success! The weather was perfect as well! Ten different families prepared traditional meals ranging from Sel Roti (a Nepali donut of sorts) to Chin Cold Basil Seed soup. Our refugee families were thrilled to show off their productive gardens to the guests in attendance and offered everyone mustard greens from their plots. It was a real day of integration as neighbors set up their own grills and small parties in connection with ours.
The kids had a blast with games, water fights, harvesting greens, and much more. Artists from the Mural Arts Program came to lead an art workshop for block printing. Kids and adults were able to roll and make beautiful prints using the blocks the artists had made.
Mayor Michael Nutter arrived to Growing Home just as the Nepali singing and dancing was in full swing. It was a true honor to welcome him to our space and introduce him to some of the families, volunteers, and staff who have made this project incredible! From the first minute, Mayor Nutter was amazed by the gardens and the positive celebration. It took a while to explain to our refugee families what Mayor meant, but some came up and confidently introduced themselves and told their stories.
After Mayor Nutter the viewed the gardens and was introduced to the neighbors, he gave a short speech that we translated into three languages (Nepali, Burmese, and Karen).
The mayor passionately welcomed our families to Philadelphia and thanked them for all the positive work they have done to transform the block and contribute to the city. He expressed continued support for Growing Home and other projects NSC and Migrant Education program are doing to help refugees. He ended with a positive message about freedom, liberty, and diversity in Philadelphia. These recent refugee families were honored and so happy to be welcomed with open arms by the mayor of this great city!