Askew Uses Green Thumb to Engage Students
Destiny Askew, a member of the YWCA Central Alabama Building Communities, Bettering Lives AmeriCorps program, is literally growing during the COVID-19 pandemic. While abiding by stay-at-home restrictions, Askew has repurposed some of her time to thrive in her home garden while teaching Girls, Inc. students.
Askew is assigned to Birmingham-based AmeriCorps partner agency Girls, Inc. She decided to creatively use her skills to make gardening videos to share virtually with her students. Askew has taught the students lessons about the plant cycle and how to create planters out of recycled materials.
“It’s been really relaxing to be able to garden during the pandemic,” said Askew, a 25-year-old Birmingham native. “There’s something about digging around in dirt that just makes me feel grounded.”
Askew, an education studies graduate of Kentucky’s Berea College, is quite proud of her service to the community during the ongoing pandemic. AmeriCorps members, she said, are a beacon of hope.
“It is important for members to continue serving now more than ever,” she said. “I believe our service is providing hope to those that might have lost it and compassion to those who may need it. Our world is at a turning point, and our service can help move our society toward a more charitable and humane direction.”
In her garden, Askew grows squash, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, kidney beans, eggplant and watermelon. She also flexes her green thumb with sweet and purple basil, garden and pineapple sage, spearmint, peppermint, lemon thyme, oregano, green onions, and chives. Askew said she looks forward to returning to the actual Girls, Inc. garden and the girls she loves to serve through AmeriCorps.
AmeriCorps members provide capacity building and direct service within the YWCA and nonprofits around metro-Birmingham. In addition to Girls, Inc., AmeriCorps partner opportunities include One Roof, AlaQuest Collaborative for Education, Birmingham Education Foundation, Build UP Ensley, College Admissions Made Possible, Dave Mathews Center for Civic Life, as well as the YWCA’s Domestic Violence Services, Interfaith Hospitality House, and Family Resource Center, Youth Development program, After-School Enrichment program.
The YW’s AmeriCorps program is a great opportunity for workforce development and career advancement. The program is recruiting 32 paid AmeriCorps members for the 2020-2021 program year, which begins Sept. 1.
All positions are full time, Monday-Friday, and include such benefits as a $1,200 per month stipend, a $6,345 education award, no-cost individual health insurance, childcare subsidy, student loan forbearance, professional development and training. Those age 21 to senior adults are encouraged to apply at www.ywcabham.org/americorps.