This article is included in our Fall 2021 newsletter. Click here to view the entire newsletter!
Shanna Korneagay, a beautiful, reserved young lady, has been a member of our Dirt Devils gardening group for about two years.
Shanna has an unusual goal each year: to experience and explore a color of her choosing. Our challenge, then, was to find the many ways the Dirt Devils could help her do this. Staff members Teresa and Zahra were determined to bring this pearl out of her shell.
In 2020, the color Shanna chose was white…that sounds easy enough, right? The group planted white angel baby begonias in our greenhouse and started Shanna’s year off with a bang! She perused seed catalogs and garden magazines searching for further inspiration. Her fellow Dirt Devils kept their eyes open for white flowers to share with Shanna. We found variegated plants (leaves that had green and white leaves), and we all learned about hostas, geraniums, and sage.
Shanna found a couple of white strawberry plants at the garden center, and we brought them back to our AccessABLE Community Garden. Not only did Shanna develop knowledge about these flowers and plants, but she also taught others along the way. And our newest Dirt Devil became a friend to us all!
This year, Shanna chose grey as her color. Now, this presented a problem: we had a terrible time finding grey flowers. We did have a few grey plants, but nothing that really felt like it fit in well enough with the “grey” theme.
One day, Shanna became very excited while flipping through a seed catalog. This quiet and reserved woman came rushing over to Teresa and grabbed her hand. Looking Teresa intently in the eye, she said, “I want grey oyster mushroom spores, May 9th.”
How could we refuse? Shanna had only spoken a few words since joining the group and this was such a specific and well-spoken request, we ordered them right away! Shanna helped care for the mushrooms and before we knew it the whole group was munching on delicious chicken marsala with oyster mushrooms we prepared from Shanna’s crop.
Shanna repeated her request for oyster mushroom spores several times and was successful in growing many to share. In the process, she became much more vocal and engaged in the gardening group. She is a valued member and friend—we’re thrilled she’s a part of our group!
Shanna has already picked the 2022 color of the year: PINK.
She made her announcement about a month ago. “We will go to Lowe’s next May,” she said, taking Teresa’s hand in hers, “and get watermelon seeds and strawberry plants.”
When we talk about “inspiring life journeys,” that means doing whatever we can to help individuals achieve their goals. It means we listen first, even though some individuals might not have many words to say. You never know how your actions can make a difference in someone’s life.
Remember the Dirt Devils and the AccessABLE Community Garden as you put your own beds to sleep this Fall. If you have any seeds or plants with pink fruit or flowers, please send them to Shanna and the Dirt Devils! We still have a lot to learn about pink!
Career, Activity, & Community
Offering one-on-one and small group adult day support, Career, Activity, & Community gives individuals with disabilities the opportunity to live their own powerful life story.