This project is a blessing to me as an educator. It provided and provides a ton of support in all academic areas. The employment skills are what really drove me to pilot this program on my campus. I think the project did not require as much time and effort as teachers or educators might think. When you can provided standard content teaching with a program such as this, you are doing your job as a teacher.
— Marisol Lilly, Special Education teacher at Shelby County High School (Columbiana, AL)

What if every school in America hosted a HOPE project?

WE GROW HOPE | Programs for special needs and at-risk youth

We want Educators to grow a HOPE Garden to give their students a chance to learn life and job readiness skills.

HOPE curriculum

STEP 1: Partner with a local Taziki's or restaurant
Gage interest from your local restaurant that sources local produces and herbs.

STEP 2: Conduct and initial meeting with the local restaurant operator and involved school staff
Have a meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page. In order to run a successful business, all parties must collaborate for the HOPE Project to work, because tending the herbs is an everyday business.

To include principal, SPED teacher, SPED Coordinator, Career tech teacher, Career tech Supervisor, SPED job coach, school book keeper, and Restaurant representative

To include Principal, teacher interested in leading the program, Career tech teacher, Career Tech Supervisor, school book keeper, and restaurant representative


  • Funding
  • Location of raised beds, greenhouse, etc.
  • Set up a “Non-Public” fund (in Alabama)

STEP 3: Implementation
Whether you would be working with students with disabilities or at-risk students, take the time to decide how to teach students a business.


General education student working with a HOPE student at Shelby County High School

General education student working with a HOPE student at Shelby County High School

  • Lumber
  • Soil
  • Tools to build
  • Time

Partner with the Agriculture department to pair students with disabilities to the general education students to give them real-world social skills. The Agriculture Departments should have necessary gardening materials like shovels, picks, and other needed items.

There will not be much to tend to at first, just need to check on seedlings.

  • All season herbs: rosemary, curly parsley, oregano
  • Basil is year-round if it’s kept in a greenhouse or a classroom with lots of natural sunlight

Logistics for the following would need to be discussed:

  • Which herbs the school will grow
  • Which days the class will harvest and how they will communicate the delivery and amount for the restaurant.
    • Have a teacher, parent, or volunteer that passes the store to deliver the herbs
    • Taziki’s to supply with a Catering bag