Little City is set for its biggest spring plant sale yet thanks to some talented and hardworking participants.

The annual plant sale started May 4th at the Dorothy Rose Horticulture Center on Little City’s campus and features hanging baskets, vegetables, succulents, annuals and much more. But the best part of the sale is that every purchase will help people like Jeff explore, learn, and grow in the horticulture program.

Jeff has been part of Little City’s horticulture program for years, but he recently became one of only four residents to be an official employee at the greenhouse. Because of increased support from grants, community partners and donors like you, Little City is able to give people like Jeff and his co-workers Simone, Sharon, and Leo real work experience, pay and
opportunity to grow.

“Jeff always brings a great energy with him every day and is willing to take on every job,” said Jackie Kenyon, horticulture specialist. “Whether it is maintenance like sweeping and cleaning bathrooms or planting seeds and weeding, he is always wanting to help any way he can.”

Along with becoming an expert gardener, Jeff has become the go-to salesman for the horticulture department. He has taken on many of the customer service responsibilities that come with running a plant sale including greeting customers with a friendly hello, helping them weigh products on a digital scale and processing their order at checkout.

His charismatic and positive personality have made him the perfect fit for the job, that has also grown to include some impromptu harmonica performances for customers.

“He is a true character and entertainer and he is such a welcoming presence and fun person for people to be around,” Jackie said. “Adding this vocational part to the program has really helped people learn new skills and get comfortable in job settings.”

While Jeff brings the fun to his work, his job also requires serious attention. He makes the trips to Ball Seed Company with Jackie and program director Wayne Johnson to choose seeds and decide what plants to grow for the season. He, like the rest of his co-workers and program participants, is responsible for the planting, nurturing and maintenance of the many raised beds, greenhouse areas and edible garden at Little City. And Jeff helps make sure both the indoor sale area and outdoor stand are ready for customers when the plant sale starts.

“Everything people see here during the plant sale really is only possible because of our participants,” Jackie said. “They all work hard and we’re excited we have a few more people we have on our radar that we think are ready for the vocational side of things.”

With your continued support, more participants like Jeff can have these opportunities in the horticulture program to grow their vocational skills, learn new skills, and help prepare them as they pursue community-based employment.

Shop the annual plant sale starting on May 4th (just in time for Mother’s Day!) at the Dorothy Rose Horticulture Center (A-Frame, 1760 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine) and help support the vocational program that individuals like Jeff are excelling in. The plant sale will have an abundance of beautiful hanging baskets, annuals, succulents, and so much more!