Luther Burbank once said,“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” Tonya Rooks recently put this idea into practice at Kareday Terrace Apartments in the Scarboro Community, where she works as the Resident Service Coordinator. Ms. Rooks partnered with Boy Scouts Troop 42 and United Way of Anderson County to build a community garden for Kareday as part of a larger plan to improve the health and wellness of residents, many of whom are disabled or have chronic diseases.

After a UT Extension class on health and fitness, Ms. Rooks was connected with one of the instructor’s sons who was hoping to build a community garden as part of his Eagle Scout project. The young man, Wyatt, visited Kareday Terrace Apartments before planning and designing the whole garden. On the day of the build, Wyatt and his troop, Ms. Rooks, and the Kareday community, including residents and staff, all turned out to complete the project. United Way of Anderson County was proud to offer financial assistance to the group. The gorgeous new garden, which is wheelchair accessible and features raised boxes, drainage, and soil, is only awaiting spring to be planted with a variety of herbs, greens, and vegetables to be enjoyed by the whole Kareday community.  

Community gardens are widely beneficial to the communities where they thrive; they increase a sense of community ownership and pride, aid in crime prevention, improve health, and offer youth and cultural opportunities to residents. The Kareday Terrace community garden is an early step in Ms. Rooks long-term plan that will make Kareday Terrace Apartments a thriving, vibrant, and welcoming place for residents and visitors alike.
Bradley Roberts, Director of Property Management, visited the garden and expressed his admiration for the project and the many volunteers. “The community garden at Kareday Terrace Apartments was a great community building experience,” he said. “From the local Boy Scouts to the residents and even the employees, everyone came together to achieve a common goal. This Eagle Scout project will serve our community for years to come by providing both fresh vegetables and ongoing community involvement. This work day was so positive that we will look into adding gardens at some of our other communities. Thank you, Troop 42, for the hard work and inspiration that you provided to this community.”