International Welcome Center Flower Garden Project
By Irene Barton, Cobb Collaborative Executive Director
One of the favorite parts of our job is making meaningful connections between people and organizations in our community. Whether that happens through warm email introductions or in person networking events, it is a way to put the “engaging” part of our mission statement into action. And there’s no better feeling than when someone follows up to let us know how the introduction and partnership evolved. Recently, we had that very happen when volunteers from St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church in Marietta updated Irene about their gardening project with the International Welcome Center.
In late 2021, a volunteer from the church reached out to the Cobb Collaborative to ask if we knew of any organizations that would be open to a MLK Day project taking place. We had had the opportunity to meet Amy Perkins, Program Manager for the International Welcome Center of Cobb County School District. The IWC helps newly arrived students (grades 6-12) and families with language assessment skills, international transcripts and other questions that arise in the transition period. It is Amy’s strong desire that the IWC be a physically welcoming place so that the students and families feel included and valued. When our Executive Director, Irene Barton, heard the faith-based team describe what they were looking for, she immediately thought of the IWC and made a virtual introduction.
The St. Catherine’s team followed up with Amy Perkins in advance of MLK day and the project unfolded over several months including preparing the site in the winter and planting in spring. The staff at IWC were thrilled and have taken over maintaining the site. Attached is a picture of the team, site and the plaque that was placed there in honor of the school’s history. The garden will continue to brighten the lives of staff and visitors and remind us all of the power of connections!