Girls’ community garden vandalized, leaders push them to bounce back

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Jaiya Clark, McKenzie Sua, Kalyse Hilliard and Peighton Ward just wanted to do something good for the community.

The girls, ages 9, 7, 5 and 2, spent the last month-and-a-half working on a community garden in the Southside neighborhood in Greensboro.

The girls are part of Plant Life, an auxiliary of New Birth Community AME Church.

They were not only learning about environmental science, but the girls were learning valuable social lessons such as the importance of giving.

“We started this because we wanted to give back to the homeless,” program adviser Megan Doldron said.

On June 23, program advisers went to the site for their weekly meeting and discovered that the girls’ work had been ruined.

“We were met with a lot of white powder all over both of our boxes and since they’re separated we knew it was a targeted attack and we noticed that all of our plants had died,” program adviser Sara Tatum said.

“We worked on the plants really hard and I can tell all of us like it,” McKenzie said.

“A lot of days we came out here and we got dirty and then just came back and ‘poof be gone,’” Jaiya said.

There are a total of 12 garden boxes in the outdoor area located next to CityView At Southside Apartment Homes.

Tatum says CityView donated two of the boxes to the group for the program.

Advisers don’t know who destroyed the plants.

“I just wanted to tell them ‘bless you,’ because you taught our kids a very important lesson in resilience,” Doldron said.

“We have an ultimate goal of helping the homeless, helping our church in the community, and that’s what we’re going to focus on rather than the incident,” said Hillary Ward, program adviser and Peighton Ward’s mother.

The girls started replanting produce the Monday after the incident occurred.