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Youth Bureau Plants Inaugural Seed in White Plains

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The White Plains Youth Bureau planted inaugural seeds in its greenhouse Thursday with help from dozens of Ridgeway Elementary School students.

High schoolers with the youth bureau's greening project helped the younger kids stuff plant liners with dirt, water the soil, and plant various produce seeds. Once the plants mature in the greenhouse behind the Ebersole Ice Rink, the greening project crew will transport the buds to the youth bureau's outdoors community gardens. Harvested produce will be given to the Thomas H. Slater Center and Food Bank for Westchester.

Chelsea Bristow, a junior at White Plains High School, said she was excited to plant tomato seeds and watch her favorite vegetable grow.

"It's a nice change from what we usually do," Bristow said of working with Ridgeway students participating in White Plains Grows, a collaboration between the youth bureau and the recreation and parks department. "We're an environmental group. We basically work outside and go around cleaning up the city and trails to make it more beautiful. We plan stuff."

Others in the greening project, such as Scott Lewis, a sophomore, were ready for the spring planting season to arrive.

"It's something better than employment. It's like a little family," he said of the program. "We'll be doing a lot of planting."

Patti Staffiero, the youth employment supervisor, said she was pleased the dozens showed up to help break in the greenhouse.

"I want to thank everybody for being here today and braving the cold here for our inaugural planting at the greenhouse," said Staffiero.

Mayor Thomas Roach thanked Bunge for helping fund and build the greenhouse this fall and the White Plains Beautification Foundation for a $750 donation that helped line the facility with lights, shelves and plant holders.

Joining the effort was a no-brainer for the beautification foundation, according to co-president Jean Bello.

"Everybody agreed we should be a part of this. The youth bureau does such a great job. You're a huge part of growing up in White Plains," said Bello.

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