The California Lutheran University Community Service center hosted the “Art and Friends Tea Party” in the SEEd garden with a group of developmentally delayed adults as a part of Cal Lutheran’s Green Week.
Community Service Center intern Rachel Lapp said this program started at the beginning of spring semester. The adults come to the garden every Thursday to participate in activities and interacting with the Cal Lutheran community.
The tea party took place April 20 and is the second tea party Lapp has hosted with the group.
“They just love coming here. It teaches them a lot skills for jobs and gives them more self-confidence,” caretaker Rika Zahir said.
Lapp runs the program and said that there are usually around six to seven adults who attend with their caretakers and that they all have a different range of abilities.
“It’s different from what you have planned every time, which I think is beautiful because that’s life,” Lapp said.
As part of Green Week, fresh mint tea grown from Cal Lutheran’s garden and handmade blueberry scones were served while the adults colored and made paper placemats for their meal.
Various activities in the garden include planting and learning about plants and animals.
“My favorite part was digging and pulling a radish out of the ground with my friends,” one of the adults Nicki Finch said.
Lapp said that they do an art project every week as well.
“I like the chickens, [for my project] I made a chicken feeder out of clay,” one of the adults Ben Sikorra said.
Lapp, who works at the SEEd garden as well, said that she teaches the group about the garden and the various ways they can help the environment.
“I teach them about the garden. We’ve had lessons on bees, worms and composting, planting and things that teach them about their environments and get them doing something different,” Lapp said.
Lapp said she wanted to reach out with the tea party to Cal Lutheran students who were interested in a career in helping those with special needs, or any students who want to be more involved with it.
“There are remarkable differences in the group since coming to the garden. They are more social and noticeably more excited about their day when they know they are coming here,” Zahir said.