MORVEN — Founded in 2019 by Mianna Deberry and Karisma Lisenby, the Garden House is a nonprofit outreach program dedicated to the youth of Anson County.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure we have certain programs and teach skill sets that the school system may not necessarily teach,” said Lisenby. Deberry listed theatre, photograph, video production and editing, and meditation as some potential programs the Garden House may offer in the future.
“We’re going to make sure we’re giving the children of the community the skills they need to succeed,” said Lisenby, “Whether they go to college or not. We’re going to promote education and trade schools. So, if they choose not to go to a university, they still have knowledge of how the world works.”
The target audience for these programs are children from the ages of four years and six months to 18. Once an individual finishes the program at 18, they will be given the opportunity to start an internship program. This will be available from age 18 until 23. The details of what the internship will look like are still being worked out.
The seeds of what would grow into the Garden House were planted over a year ago in 2019. “We were sitting in the car one day,” explained Lisenby, “and I said, ‘I have an idea I want to do for an outreach program.’”
Lisenby’s first name for the organization was “Daffodil Haven.” Deberry liked this idea, but suggested instead of naming the outreach program a specific flower, they instead come up with a name that would incorporate all flowers. To this, Lisenby said, “What about the Garden House?”
“Our initial thought,” said Deberry, “Was that each flower represents something different. Whether it’s peace, happiness, tranquility, we wanted to incorporate that into the garden house.”
It was with this in mind, that Deberry and Lisenby organized a march against police brutality in May as well as a prayer vigil on Friday, July 17 for the tragic death of a 12-year-old child due to gun violence. The goal for these events is to engage and encourage community involvement. “More people will come out to a prayer vigil than they will for a community event for kids.”
The Garden House plans on hosting a prayer walk during the third Thursday of every month. “You can not just tackle these issues with just one event,” explained Deberry. “We have to continue to put in the footwork.”
In addition to the monthly prayer walks, Lisenby and Deberry plan to assist the Smith and Polk Foundation, another youth-centered local non-profit, with their Back to School Bash. The event is being held to provide children with free haircuts and book bags before they go back to school. It is scheduled for Sunday, August 16 at 11 a.m. and will be located at Tite Cutz Barbershop in Wadesboro. Deberry has volunteered to offer hairstyling to the girls who attend the event.
For now, Deberry and Lisenby are concentrating on getting a housing unit for Garden House. “We have, surprisingly, found a lot of people who have reached out and said, ‘you can use our facilities. If you need our help in any way, just contact us,’” said Deberry.
Once they have a location in place, Deberry and Lisenby can begin focusing on the programs and services they want to offer the community. “Our main focus will be to give the kids a sense of independence and privacy,” said Deberry.
“We want the garden house to feel like another home for children,” said Lisenby. “Many kids go through a lot at home and I want them to be able to come to the Garden House and know they come to us and we will do whatever we can to solve some of their issues.”
Those wishing to donate to the Garden House can send money to their Venmo account at The-gardenhouse. For those wishing to volunteer their time, the Garden House can be found on Facebook at @gardenhouse2019.
Reach Charles Wood at 704 994 5471 or firstname.lastname@example.org