In my own backyard

Demonstration garden

Demonstration garden

Last week, I attended an amazing tour and learned how the ISU Extension and Outreach office partners with several organizations around Central Iowa. (I’m working with them on marketing.)

First, we visited the Children and Family Urban Ministries. In addition to tutoring and other services, they serve 60-70 kids breakfast each morning before school – since 1968. They also serve about 120 people each night! That’s a wedding reception, people!

The, we saw the Food Bank of Iowa. In Iowa, one in five kids don’t have enough to eat. They serve more than 375 partner agencies in 55 counties. What an amazing place. Think of it as a warehouse like Sam’s Club of Costco for hungry Iowans.

Then, we visited the amazing Demonstration Garden. Very cool. Volunteers and Master Gardeners take care of the plants so the community (and the Food Bank) can enjoy the fruits and veggies of their labor.

Next up, the Adventure Learning Center. I’d heard about these “rope courses,” but wasn’t sure what they were. I just thought it was a fun place for kids to go in the summertime. Turns out, corporations and kids alike can learn about team-building and asking for help when needed. I’m eager to try one out myself!

Last, we visited another ISU Extension office that takes the Bets Off calls, in addition to questions for beginning farmers, teens, financial questions, legal concerns, health care questions and family transitions. What a great (and free) resource!

Bottom line? You don’t have to look far to see the good works being done in your own backyard. I was inspired by the people who volunteer their time and talents each day to help others. Now I need to channel it back. There’s always something to do!