By Morgan Bryce

Chilly temperatures and muddy ground did not deter the horde of volunteers gathered at a satellite location of the Lee County Youth Development Center at 1312 Spring Drive on Saturday morning for the installation of a new community garden.
In a recent press release from Auburn University, Compound Solutions, Inc. of Carlsbad, California announced that it was planning to invest $500,000 in the university’s College of Education.
The Lee County Youth Development Center received approximately $40,000 of the $500,000 donation, with O Grows contributing to the garden installation.
The new garden was finished Monday morning and will complement the existing community garden behind the Southside Center for the Arts in Opelika. O Grows Executive Director Dr. Sean Forbes said the gift will be of tremendous benefit to both his organization and the LCYDC.
“With their operations thousands of miles away, CSI’s investment in the youths residing at LCYDC and their neighbors is a model of altruistic corporate giving,” Forbes said in the press release. “The gift also speaks to CSI’s commitment to their educational outreach program, the Farmacy Initiative. The initiative promotes community-based food production, cooking and nutrition.”
Duante Stanton, director of the College of Education’s Office of Development, greeted and welcomed everyone in attendance, followed by short statements from other project leaders present, including Compound Solutions President Kimberly Sickinger, LCYDC Executive Director Laura Cooper and Forbes.
“This is a passion project for us as well, and we install similar gardens for youth in San Diego. It’s very emotional to be involved and install gardens and have the opportunity to see children learn how to garden and cultivate,” Sickinger said.
“We know that those here from O Grows and Compound (Solutions) wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a passion for children. We thank you all and look forward to what you’re bringing to us and our agency as a whole,” Cooper said.
“Doing work through O Grows has been the greatest experience of my life. My lovely wife Susan has been the motivation for almost everything I do, and we’re excited and grateful for the opportunity to do this,” Forbes said.
For more information about Compound Solutions, Inc., visit
To learn more about the efforts and missions of the LCYDC and O Grows, visit and
For more photos turn to B7.