Since 1919, St. Stephen’s Community House continues to be a hub for advancing self-sufficiency. Maintaining a goal of high-level visionary leadership, St. Stephen’s exemplifies forward thinking as it relates to serving the Linden and surrounding community with programs and services that support each individual’s well-being. Our mission driven activities are predicated on demonstrating a significant and sustainable impact on the health and vitality of our community through innovative education, intentional nutrition and wellness awareness, deliberate food production, and practical job training, as we move families toward self-sufficiency.
What is Project AquaStar?
Project AquaStar is St. Stephen’s Community House’s commitment to addressing the food insecurity epidemic prevailing in the Linden Community.
Project AquaStar’s vision is to Brighten Lives with Global Impact.
Project AquaStar evolved from St. Stephen’s initial attempt at a community garden and the growing need in the Linden community to abate food insecurity and health awareness. Innovation had to be paramount and education was essential. The objectives and anticipated outcomes for Project AquaStar is to lessen the need for food assistance from local pantries, using methods that will allow families to produce their own “organic” nourishment, while also supporting STEM education and social entrepreneur principles in our youth programs.
Project AquaStar also sustains inter-generational gardening activities with intimate story time offered in the authentic on-site Teepee. Project AquaStar has shown significant impact in the lives of our residents from ages 3 to 93, by leading participants in activities that feed their bodies, mind and spirit.
How will we address food insecurity, strengthen families and teach STEM?
St. Stephen’s Community House has erected a greenhouse and two solar hoop houses to grow and cultivate organic herbs, vegetables and tilapia using the aquaponic growing technique.
Project AquaStar has become a beacon of hope in the Linden community. Its contents and design was created to fit the needs of the community it serves. Consideration was given to factors such as age-appropriate design, accessibility, and neighborhood health indicators such as diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure, in addition to maintaining the garden’s sustainability. Daily, garden visitor’s remark on something new they have learned and how they plan to replicate or share the knowledge gained from their visits. For example, building their own mini aquaponic unit to grow tilapia and vegetables, or beginning to compost, to fortify their own gardens and to avert landfill waste. Project AquaStar hosted the elders in the community to dedicate the on-site Teepee. They celebrated culture with chants, native rituals and song as they held hands around the structure. Project AquaStar has been instrumental in eliminating the “summer-slide” many urban youth experience when they are not actively participating in educational programs during the summer. The summer-slide can set children back three grade levels during dormant, inactive summers. Project AquaStar can be credited as serving more than 400 youth with educational activities. Project AquaStar has employed over 25 at-risk youth over the past two years in the garden, while also reinforcing both soft and social skills to enhance their character and future employability. Project AquaStar has impacted the community by elevating the initial garden attempt not worthy of long-term change to a noteworthy garden nurturing an already challenged community.
Why is Project AquaStar Necessary?
Project AquaStar is innovative and necessary.
Our objectives and anticipated outcomes for Project AquaStar is to diminish the need for food, using methods that will allow families to produce their own “organic” nourishment by:
Reducing our footprint to the landfill by recycling, reusing and composting
Teaching our families the importance of energy conservation
Educating and establishing food security using one strategy…Aquaponics
Equipping our youth with project based, hands- on learning experiences that enforce STEM education and community reciprocity
How can you help?
• Please support us with purchasing AquaStar Pavers
DONATE NOW, VOLUNTEER, AND PURCHASE PRODUCE!
Contact Henry Pettigrew at 614-294-6347, extension 131