The Help Group’s ‘Beyond the Farm’ Garden, generously established by the Looking Beyond Foundation was transformed for this season’s autumn and winter harvest thanks to the support of John Nogawski, 2011 Help Group Help Humanitarian Honoree, and Emily Richards Nogawski. Lending a hand in the garden with students and providing the funding for the services of Ventura County Coop, John and Emily have graciously helped to bring the Sunrise school garden into full bloom.

“We are so grateful to John and Emily and the Looking Beyond Foundation for their commitment to the development this sustainable garden project for our Sunrise students. Our young people take incredible pride in tending to their garden beds and reaping bountiful harvests,” says Dr. Barbara Firestone, Pres. & CEO, The Help Group.

The ‘Beyond the Farm’ Garden is part of Sunrise School’s educational program. Students maintain seven garden beds, potato towers and vertical herb-filled Woolley Pockets, on daily basis. This autumn and winter season, alongside John and Emily and dedicated staff, students learned how to prep the soil, plant and harvest a variety of crops ranging from potatoes to kale to beets. Sue Anne Kaples, Principal of Sunrise School talks about the benefit to her students. “The garden provides a therapeutic and nurturing environment where students can develop their self-esteem and a sense of achievement as they master outdoor functional skills sets and learn about health and nutrition.”

Our many thanks to John & Emily for helping to make our school garden grow! And a special thanks to Judy Wolf, parent, advocate, and steering committee member, Looking Beyond Foundation. The Looking Beyond Foundation has been a generous supporter of The Help Group’s Sunrise School since 2008.

Sunrise School offers a comprehensive special education day school program for students, ages five through twenty-one, with moderate to severe global delays associated with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. The primary goal is to enable each student to realize his or her fullest potential and to become as independent as possible.