At about nine o’clock yesterday morning, student and staff volunteers from ten MYBC programs sat on the front steps of the State House while YouthBuild Boston Director Ken Smith, Coalition Director Terry Moran, and Boston mayoral candidate Charlotte Golar Richie, explained the significance of the work they were about to take part in.
“The State House is your house,” Richie told students, urging them to treat it as such throughout State House Landscaping Day, a Massachusetts YouthBuild community service project aimed at restoring the front lawn of the building.
According to Paul Rouhas, YB Boston Community Service Coordinator, State House Landscaping Day began five years ago as a service-learning project geared toward bringing their vocational training program to a highly visible platform. It has since evolved into a statewide event, gathering all ten MYBC programs to plant, dig, weed, edge, and do whatever else necessary to green-ify the outside of the State House.
“It’s hard work, but it’s fun work,” said Matthew Miranda, a student at YouthBuild New Bedford who explained that getting to know other Massachusetts students while having the opportunity to show gratitude to YouthBuild supporters in the State House made the project a whole lot easier. “I like coming out here and supporting the State House. They’ve been supporting us for so long, so it’s good to give back to them as they’ve been giving back to us, and it’s good to get our hands dirty and show them that we can serve the community,” Miranda added.
“It is a pretty neat thing,” said Rouhas, who organized the event alongside YB Boston Assistant Landscape Manager Scott Baldelli. “Until recently, many of the areas of the front yard were closed to visitors, and YouthBuild students were some of the lucky few to actually be able to set foot out there and do something productive at the same time.”
By the end of the day, students had planted countless flowers and bushes, uprooted piles of weeds, and spread a mountain of mulch. They were tired, but every one of them went home proud of the job they had done. They had, as Charlotte Golar Richie advised them earlier in the day, treated the State House with the same care and attention they would have their own.
Thank you to all who made the day a successful one.
Pictures of our students' hard work below: