Building a Greenhouse and Intergenerational Relationships

2018 Wall Award winners tackle community issues
Jeremy Shapiro

Congratulations to Chad Darby ’88 and Jennifer Kulik ’94, recipients of the College’s 2018 Joseph F. Wall ’41 Alumni Service Award. Each will use the $30,000 award to launch programs benefiting their respective communities in the Pacific Northwest.

Chad Darby headshotDarby’s project will build and develop a commercial-quality greenhouse for an elementary school outside of Portland, Oregon. 

“The experiences that will be made possible as a result of the greenhouse will quite literally bring learning to life for our students who might otherwise be exposed to some concepts only in theory or in a less practical, meaningful way,” says Jordan Mills, Bridgepoint Elementary principal.

Jennifer Kulik headshot

Darby says working in the greenhouse will teach students many skills in nursery operations, seed starting, plant care, and improving yield. He adds, “At the same time that we have a crisis of hunger and poverty in much of the United States, children are becoming less and less familiar with the sources of their food and the methods used to produce it.” 

Similar to Darby, Kulik saw a community need and started an organization to address it. Silver Kite Community Arts specializes in creating intergenerational arts programs and arts experiences for older adults. All of the arts programs use life stories as a source for art making.

With the Wall Award prize, Silver Kite is partnering with Sustainable Housing for the Ageless Generation (SHAG), a Washington nonprofit of affordable rental apartment communities for low- and moderate-income seniors. The program will be piloted in five different SHAG communities in the south part of Seattle.

“Based on feedback and learnings gleaned from the pilot programs, we will create an intergenerational program toolkit, which can be used by other SHAG and senior living communities to implement their own version of the program,” Kulik says.

The Wall Award was established in 1996 as a tribute to the College’s 150-year tradition of social commitment. The award was named in honor of Joseph Wall ’41, professor of history and longtime dean of the College, who inspired an ideal of social responsibility in his students.

Each year, a committee composed of alumni, faculty, and a student choose up to two award recipients and award the $30,000 prizes to either jump-start or complete a project that shows creativity and commitment to effecting positive social change. 

Since 1996, Grinnell College has presented the Wall Award to 50 alumni who have contributed more than $1 million and their time and talents to 44 diverse projects throughout the United States and in five other countries, perpetuating a legacy of activism. 

For more information about Darby’s and Kulik’s projects, see

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