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Local News

Joliet's Warren Sharpe Community Center to head to Washington, D.C.

Children will tour First Lady Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden

Pre-kindergarten students and staff walk Oct. 11, 2012, across Joliet Street to an empty lot that was donated by the City of Joliet to use for the new Warren-Sharpe Community Center Children's Community Garden. Some children and staff from Warren-Sharpe will head to Washington, D.C., in two weeks for a tour of First Lady Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden.
Pre-kindergarten students and staff walk Oct. 11, 2012, across Joliet Street to an empty lot that was donated by the City of Joliet to use for the new Warren-Sharpe Community Center Children's Community Garden. Some children and staff from Warren-Sharpe will head to Washington, D.C., in two weeks for a tour of First Lady Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden.

JOLIET — After spending the summer growing their own community garden from the ground up, some children at the Warren-Sharpe Community Center in Joliet will head to Washington, D.C., in two weeks for a tour of First Lady Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden.

The news arrived Friday afternoon from the White House to Kay Bolden's email inbox. She's the executive director for the Warren Sharpe Community Center.

"I'm so excited. This is going to be such a transformational experience for the kids," Bolden said.

Bolden said she submitted last year the application for a Kitchen Garden Tour, explaining about the center's new urban community garden and how the children are growing vegetables, learning about nutrition, and participating in the Michelle Obama's "Let Move" campaign.

"And I hadn't heard anything in a long time, so I did a couple of follow ups with [U.S. Congressman Bill Foster and Sen. Dick Durbin]," Bolden said. "I just can't believe it."

Her hard work must have paid off. Bolden said she plans to announce the news to the children next week.

A longstanding community resource, the Warren-Sharpe Community Center is located on the city's South Side with a mission is to reach children and high-risk teens. Through the community garden, Bolden hopes to transform the struggling neighborhood. About 40 children and teens attend the center’s after-school program.

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