V Teamer Ali N. connects families through gardening for an Earth Day celebration.

By: Verizon Careers

Ali N. is playing his part in COVID-19 relief efforts by mailing free seeds to help families grow food and strengthen bonds.

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Watch Ali N. talk about his volunteer efforts on this episode of Up To Speed. 

Despite the friction that can come with multiple people sheltering under one roof, we’re finding more moments to enjoy quality time together. For Mouhamadou (Ali) N., encouraging gardening to build family bonds and a connection with the community and the environment is a win-win he’s delivering for his community.

This year, Ali and the non-profit organization he started had plans to bring people together to celebrate Earth Day, but all of that changed with social distancing. As a result, a few members of the non-profit began to brainstorm activities that families in the Raleigh, NC, area could do at home. Thus, the Spring Challenge Campaign was born.  

Connecting community and families through gardening.

Using an excess of flower and vegetable seeds from their community garden, the organization has been inviting families across their community to receive a free mystery mix of seeds to grow at home. After planting the seeds, participating families are asked to share their progress on the organization’s social media page, along with growing tips and guesses for what was in their mystery mix. 

As the plants mature, group members, which include an award-winning gardener, will judge the best flowers and vegetables and award small prizes. With a special focus on engaging children, the group is also sending a weekly newsletter with recommended family-friendly books and movies about the environment.

Bringing families and communities together for an Earth Day celebration.

“There’s something enriching about getting your hands dirty with your kids and helping them learn how things grow,” Ali reflects. “If there’s ever been a time to spend family time, this is it.”

Ali hopes the campaign will encourage families to get outside, reduce stress and anxiety, promote greater awareness of the efforts and rewards for growing your own food and most importantly, enjoy quality time together to better cope with isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign launched April 3 and includes more than 50 participating households from Raleigh, as well as Georgia and Michigan. Through word of mouth and local advertising, families are continuing to join in. 

“I think we all share a desire to do something to help each other thrive right now,” Ali shares. “Our Spring Challenge Campaign has been an opportunity to share a low-frills and fun activity that is bringing my community together, and it connects with my personal passion for inspiring others to care more deeply about the environment.”

Great job Ali, and wishing you a Happy 50th Earth Day! 

Learn more about Verizon’s sustainability efforts.

About the author:

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