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The Coastkeeper Garden has lots of helping hands, thanks to the Orange Unified School District and the Irvine Adult Enrichment Center. Since 2015, we’ve worked together to help more than 50 students and adults with learning disabilities get involved in the community and learn daily living skills.

Students learn how to get around on the public bus, and they practice this skill each time they come to the Coastkeeper Garden. Once they arrive, participants and their job coaches get busy weeding, watering, raking and collecting leaves for organic composting.

They also plant seeds in our edible herb garden and harvest them over the next few months. They take home delicious herbs like basil and sage to spice up their recipes as they hone their cooking skills. We donate the remaining herbs to the Santiago Canyon College Food Bank for low-income students and community residents.

Over the past two years, these students have spent more than 700 hours volunteering with Orange County Coastkeeper, learning valuable job skills while improving their coordination and confidence. Most importantly, participants have fun and take pride in their (delicious) work.