By: Avery Dunn
This summer, The Allie Sunshine Project is proud to announce that we were approved for a grant by the Ontario Government to hire two part- time summer interns! This has so far been such an enriching experience for these students, and we are looking forward to spending the rest of the summer making this an educational and enjoyable summer for them, where they can teach us as much as we teach them. Meet our new interns below! “Hello everyone! My name is Avery Dunn, and I am this summer’s reporter/copywriter intern! I am a twenty-one year old University of Windsor student studying English Literature. I have known Jeremy Hayes for many years now, and am so grateful that he chose to bring me on board to do such rewarding work for an incredible organization. Thus far I have already learned and experienced a lot about charity, selflessness, passion, and bravery alongside the incredible educational value of working within and for the Allie Sunshine Project, giving me a truly well-rounded experience I will never forget. I have met some of you at the 2021 Planting Wellness Event, where I took photos and interviews of the volunteers and community members alike. I can’t wait to see the rest of what this summer holds.” “Hi my name is Brody Ryall, I am one of the 2 students that have been hired for the internship this summer. I am 15 and in my second year at Saint Anne’s High School. I am excited to work in the Healing Garden this summer! I have been volunteering at the garden for several years and am excited to become part of the garden team! I love what this organization does and love the garden and all of the amazing people in it. This garden has become somewhat of a getaway from my cramped household during COVID and I am glad to hear that it has done the same for others. The Allie Sunshine project is a great thing that I am very fortunate to have in my life it has taught me not only about gardening but about myself and is a very good experience that I would recommend to everyone! I love this organization and can’t wait to see what my internship brings throughout the summer!”
Education Team News
By: Lynn Hayes
Our Springtime Wellness Series went ahead this year via on-line meetings and finished up strong with two outdoor gatherings in June. All were excited to finally meet in person for Forest Therapy in the Healing Garden and a plant identifying woods walk. A huge thank you to Brandi Bechard, Jessica Middleton and Tracey Rogers, our wellness guides of this series for your inspiration and wealth of knowledge offered by each of you! Thank you also to all who joined us for your enthusiasm and open-hearted participation. We truly did explore and learn together in a spirit of curiosity, shared wisdom, and friendship.
“Magic Monday Mornings”
Monthly, Monday morning drop- ins. The Education Team invites you to join us in The Healing Garden once a month from 9 to 10 a.m. for Magic Monday Mornings. We will plan a guided meditation and a light gardening/art activity. Come and experience the magical healing of connection within, with nature, and with community. Dates: July 12, August 9, Sept. 13 Cost: free will donation If interested: email Lynn Hayes by Friday of the previous week, [email protected] to assist us in planning for the day. Come prepared for fun and the weather of the day.
Our Summer 2021 Shine Back – Robert Ross
By: Jeremy Hayes
Since The Allie Sunshine Project’s first Planting Wellness event in 2015, we have been introduced to many lovely folks. One distinguished gentleman, Robert Ross, stands out in this crowd of wellness explorers. Robert attended our 2017 Planting Wellness event as we were connecting with budding gardeners and community garden organizers to distribute our vegetable transplants. The day we crossed paths with this dynamo, a significant relationship began. While chatting, we excitedly discovered how closely our passions were aligned. Robert expressed to us his abilities to design websites and his tech savvy became evident. He went on to say that organizations doing work such as ours should never be held back due to technological roadblocks. Through the years, Robert’s dedicated involvement in The Allie Sunshine Project has continued to unlock new opportunities for our organization. He helped solve our technological challenges by building our new website and creating an online store. We are extremely grateful to Robert for skilfully guiding us to reorganize our Planting Wellness Events. During the last two years, he facilitated well-organized curb-side events by creating an online ordering portal for our vegetable transplants. Robert is passionate about the issues that impact the wellness of our communities including education, food distribution and the environment. Robert is not an armchair activist yelling at the screen from the comfort of his living room, he is out in the streets making waves in the community through his contributions to the Windsor Essex County Community Garden Collective and the Downtown Windsor Farmers Market. With his incredible skills for tech solutions and spot-on communication, he has been pivotal in creating and sustaining these organizations. He is living a powerful legacy as a community organizer in Windsor, Ontario. Robert is a largely unsung hero as he maintains anonymity behind the scenes. Using the tech tools he has built and the marketing and communications campaigns he has orchestrated, he has played a critical role in launching important community service organizations. Thank you, Robert, for all you do! You have made life much better here in Windsor and especially at The Allie Sunshine Project. We love you with all our hearts.
2021 Planting Wellness
By: Avery Dunn
The Allie Sunshine Project’s 7th annual ‘Planting Wellness’ Event took place on May 22nd from 9am to 3pm. It was a ray of sunshine to a community that needed it more than ever. With everything going on in the world lately, and even with the temporary rain on this otherwise sunny day, the Rays of Sunshine helped us execute such an important event for the organization and for the Windsor- Essex County. Without our lovely volunteers, the Allie Sunshine Project could not have become what it is today, so we are so blessed for all of your support. Giving away plants and bringing people together is always such an impactful mission, but this year it became even more valuable for everyone involved. Without Anna’s Flowers, Plant Products, and Seacliff, our stakeholders, this day would not have been possible so we thank them with all our hearts. Over 400 plant transplants and dozens of flower bouquets were given and sold to community members who placed orders through our online portal for a COVID-safe, drive-through pick up at Lakeshore’s St. Andrew’s Church. And, just down the street, our Rays of Sunshine Gardening Team were hard at work on the Allie Sunshine Project’s Healing Garden located at 252 West Pike Creek Road. This was yet another beautiful, successful event for the Allie Sunshine Project and a true tribute to how much the organization has grown and how much more there is to come.
“I was diagnosed with cancer last year right before the pandemic started, so obviously, for anybody dealing with this disease, to know that there is ways to carry on your memory. Last year I did this for the first time, I had never gardened before, and we got locked down while I was in the middle of radiation and chemo, and I, every morning at seven in the morning was when my radiation treatment was. So I would get up at six in the morning so I wasn’t late for radiation. I would water all my plants. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had something to get me outside and to make me feel like I could still do something.” – Kimberly, A Community Member
“What we both normally do is we don’t use it all, so we’ll start giving our extra plants to friends, family and stuff, so it kind of spreads around a little bit and everyone has a piece of what we get today in their garden. And we always say we get them from Allie Sunshine” – Laura, A Community Member
“Allison was a teacher, so it was always about learning. So the fact that people are maybe not comfortable gardening, it’s still an opportunity to learn and grow. Sometimes you’re going to win and sometimes you’re going to lose. It’s about learning and taking the chance.” – Adam, Alison Hayes’ Brother