The Story of The Tiny Children’s Garden

Welcome to our first blog post of the 2020 year! Our first series of posts were provided by students enrolled in SOC 515, Research Methods & Study Design in Sociology, and focused on where their course readings intersected with their work in The Tiny Children’s Garden (TTCG). This new series will focus on the story of how TTCG came to be. We hope you enjoy the first installment… 

Photo of the lot that will become The Tiny Children's Garden.

TTCG, before it was TTCG

The story of TTCG’s partnership with SIUE’s Successful Communities Collaborative (SSCC) begins in early spring 2019, when Mayor Rickie Thomas of the Village of Washington Park, Illinois, was contacted by SSCC to be its municipal partner in 2019-2020. SSCC is a cross-disciplinary program that supports year-long partnerships between the University and communities in Illinois to advance local resilience and sustainability based on community-identified environmental, social, and economic projects. SSCC’s mission is to connect Illinois communities with the students, faculty, and other resources of the University. Following receipt of the letter, Mayor Thomas requested a meeting with members of the SSCC team to discuss how Washington Park (WP) might partner with SSCC. While WP and SSCC have not yet found a way to partner, Mayor Thomas kept SSCC’s contact information and shared it with Derissa Davis, WP resident, James Avant Elementary School teacher, community leader, and property owner when she approached him with her idea to build a community garden for WP children. Davis soon reached out to SSCC’s director Connie Frey Spurlock who is also a sociology professor and sustainability educator. Derissa’s initial call came through on Friday, March 31, 2019. Derissa and Connie immediately decided to partner to build what became known as The Tiny Children’s Garden.   

Stay tuned for the next installment when you’ll meet Professors Sandra Weissinger (Sociology) and Anne Werner (Construction Management).