JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – The words “it takes a village” are painted in green on the street in front of Diane Washington’s home.

“We all have a part to play to try and make things better,” said Washington.

For Washington, that means running her organization ‘Young People of Purpose’ in the gardens that surround her home. It’s part of an educational program to give kids a place where they can get their hands dirty, take classes, give back, and in the process grow as a community.

“That’s our purpose, that’s our goal to bring everyone together to be able to work together in harmony. That’s what we really want,” said Washington.

Robert Stephens has lived in this neighborhood for decades. He remembers the times when everyone knew everybody, and that’s needed now more than ever.

“The things that they learn here they can take back to school with them, some of them bring their friends out for activities and that’s the type of thing we need. And I think we are getting a lot of parents involved too and you know when you get the parents and the kids involved in the same thing it’s always something positive,” said Stephens.

Washington hopes that like the hundreds of flowers growing here, this garden will serve Jackson for generations to come.

“We use all our tools to try and help everyone.  We’re excited about just building upon relationships and sharing with them so that they can share with someone else,” said Washington.

The group’s summer program is underway.

Along with the garden, classes include art, business, and culture. For ways to get involved, there is a link below.