Global Youth Service Day Grant Strengthens Multicultural Community Garden

For Immediate Release
April 15, 2016

Contact: Bethany Welch at bwelch [at] or 267-702-3454

Global Youth Service Day Grant Strengthens Multicultural Community Garden in South Philly

Philadelphia, PA – Aquinas Center will participate in Global Youth Service Day on Saturday, April 16th from 10am-12noon with support from a national grant to fund improvements to our Multicultural Community Garden. The center and the garden are situated in a culturally and linguistically diverse area in South Philadelphia, offers children and youth a place for hands-on, interdisciplinary learning and also serves as a vehicle to engage their parents and relatives in the powerful cycle from planting to harvest.

On Saturday, neighborhood teens and adult volunteers will turn over soil, install a new rain barrel, assign plots, create signage, and prepare the garden for a new growing season that will:

  • Reinforce both unique and shared cultural practices around food and community
  • Encourage healthy eating and physical activity for children and their families
  • Cultivate children’s cultural knowledge
  • Celebrate kinship relationships within immigrant families
  • Foster shared understanding and mutuality across boundaries of class, race, ethnicity, and religion

This local community service project is made possible by through an application facilitated by Lan Ngo, Ph.D. who volunteered with Aquinas Center during her graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. As a recipient of a Critical Language Scholarship through the American Councils for International Education, she was eligible to apply for a grant through Global Youth Service Day Initiative. Dr. Ngo came to appreciate the value of shared learning spaces while studying Chinese in Beijing through CLS where the city and its people also became her classroom. She sees the Aquinas Center Multicultural Community Garden as a similar space. “Repairing garden beds and tilling dirt side-by-side, volunteers for this GYSD project from across diverse backgrounds will chat and joke, and in so doing, learn from one another,” explains Dr. Ngo.

Global Youth Service Day is an annual campaign that celebrates and mobilizes children and youth who improve their communities each day of the year through service and service-learning. Established in 1988, Global Youth Service Day is the largest service event in the world dedicated to children and youth. GYSD 2016 will take place on April 15 -17.


Aquinas Center is located at 1700 Fernon Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145.
To learn more about our community and mission, visit
To get involved with our different programs, contact or 267-702-3454.