My name is Kaitlyn Schweikert. I am a sophomore Healthcare Administration/Psychology double major at Stonehill College. I am from a small town in midcoast Maine, Belfast. I chose to participate in the Building Leaders Learning Community because of the opportunity to go beyond the classroom and become involved in a social justice program. The idea of applying classroom theory to a community program appealed to me. Theories presented in the classroom become significant when they can be applied to real life situations, like this gardening initiative. In seventh grade, our middle school curriculum was based solely around the garden. Each classroom curriculum, math, science, social studies and English, was in some way linked to the garden. For example, in social studies, we studied economics. We applied the theories taught in the classroom to the garden by establishing a Farm Stand and selling our products to the community after school. We also had to establish a business plan that could be used to open a business that utilized garden products. I do not remember many lessons from middle school. However, those classes that involved applying ideas and concepts taught in the classroom to the garden have stuck with me over the last seven years. I think that this fact is very significant and is part of the reason that I am so excited to be working with kids in a similar environment to the one I had in middle school. I hope that the academic lessons come alive through experimentation and hands on learning so that they can have an effect on children not just that day, but in the future as well. I believe that experiential learning is incredibly valuable. After watching the documentary entitled, Hunger Hits Home, I developed an even greater appreciation and desire to become involved in projects that make a difference for children and families. The documentary featured families across the country who are undernourished and struggling to get by. This serves as inspiration to do a good job in our work and solidifies that there is a great need in our country and community for kids to have access to programing and positive experiences at school, such as these community gardens. I am looking forward to meeting the students next week and implementing our garden-based learning activities into the classroom!