On Saturday, Dec. 5, the volunteers at the Village Learning and Achievement Center’s Village Garden gathered in the snow-covered garden to accept a donation from the Lone Star College - Kingwood students. “Brian, Faith, Jose and Bethany were all great to work with,” said Kim Brusatori, founder and development director of Village Learning and Achievement Center. “We can’t thank all of the students enough for their support and willingness to accomplish their project,” Brusatori added. For 10 years, Village Learning and Achievement Center has served as a facility for residents with mental and physical disabilities in the community. The Village Garden is a rehabilitation tool for the villagers where they have the opportunity to learn a variety of skills, both trade and social. A total of $2,400 was raised for the garden. A good Samaritan, who wishes to remain anonymous, donated the entire cost of the greenhouse at the Moonlight Garden Ball held on Nov. 7. The remaining funds of $610 were donated to the garden and will be used to build a tool shed. Rick Alspaugh, owner of Alspaugh’s Ace Hardware in Kingwood, donated $500 to the greenhouse. “He’s a great guy,” said Brian Jones, LSC-Kingwood student. “In five minutes, he donated $500. That’s the quickest $500 I’ve ever made!” The new greenhouse has 50 square feet of growing space for starter plants. “Last year, I started 120 plants in my garage so I’m very excited about this,” laughed Ben Turner, Village Garden volunteer. “The benefit to this is that the plants do much better in a greenhouse than with artificial light.” The greenhouse is 6.1 feet long by 7.2 feet high and 8 feet deep. Shelves will be installed along the walls of the greenhouse, which will shelter the seedlings from harsh winter conditions. “Now that we have the greenhouse we will be able to germinate starter plants more effectively and it will help us earn income that we might not otherwise have had,” said Brusatori. A donated playground slide will be converted into a dwelling for starter plants. The slide will be positioned flat and a base will be built at wheelchair height so that all villagers will be able to participate in gardening. As far as the snow that covered the ground, according to Turner, the winter plants did well in the freeze. The summer plants that did not survive the freeze will go into the garden’s organic compost heap. For more information, contact Amy McIntee, communications coordinator for Village Learning & Achievement Center, at 281-358-6172 or visit www.villagelac.org. Photo: LSC-Kingwood students Jose Quijano, Bethany Day, and Brian Jones present a donation to Village Learning and Achievement Center founder Kim Brusatori and volunteers Ben and Sheila Turner. The funds were used to build the greenhouse for the garden. Photo by Andrea Waguespack

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