If you ever hear chickens clucking in Mott Haven you may be passing by J.M Rapport High School, a South Bronx school that serves over 500 teens with learning disabilities, developmental delays, or emotional disturbances. They’re friendly hens, taken care of by the school’s garden club run by teachers Michael Masefield and Trevor Long.
Mr. Masefield and Mr. Long have helped to transform the story of inner city child with inner city problems. It gets old, quick. A story about South Bronx teenagers raising hens and growing tomatoes more accurately highlights the effort that goes into making the city a more wholesome place to live.
Caring for the school garden provides an alternative environment for students to cultivate skills otherwise difficult to develop in an academic setting. “The garden club helps us work together,” say Gladys and Bermin, both in 11th grade and club veterans. They built their own chicken coop with guidance and plans from the Just Food program. In addition to the coop, they have constructed a tool shed, and raised beds with an irrigation system.