Paul Durbin is passionate about gardening.
If you speak to him for any amount of time, that’s apparent. Durbin, president of the Equality Garden Club, is even more enthusiastic, however, about making a difference in the community.
Thus far this year, he and the EGC have been knocking both priorities out of the park. Consider both goals accomplished.
Durbin is a certified Master Gardener, and has recently headed an effort to not only bring the Equality Garden Club to levels it’s never reached before (the club has seen a growth of over 100 percent in the first eight months of the year), but to impact the community in a positive way.
Recently, EGC and Durbin helped form and fund a program with Kids in Distress that would concentrate on setting up a horticultural education program and curriculum for the children in their care.
The idea of the program would be pretty simple: KID would be both a hands-on and classroom-based program, with the goal of producing food for the Kids Campus in which the children can eat what they grow. They learn a skill and get to reap the benefits of their teachings, all while spending time doing something good for the environment and themselves.
To launch the program, Durbin and EGC recently gave KID $3,500 in "seed money" to get the program off its feet, with hopes of more in the future. That initial funding, Durbin said, will get the program through its first two semesters. According to Durbin, the program was a match made in heaven for him because it combined his two passions: gardening and community outreach.
“I was raised to believe you give back to your community. I believe in this passionately and always have. Kids is a very worthy cause, and they are right in Wilton Manors,” Durbin said.
The Equality Gardening Club has much more planned for the end of 2018 and into 2019, but in addition to the KID program, EGC has also worked on a few other projects that have been a hit in the community.
“Last fall we gave $5,000 to Flamingo Gardens [a zoological park, and botanical garden out in western Broward County]. The money was earmarked to help fund a new prehistoric garden at the park,” Durbin said. “Now, we want to stick with more local projects. In addition to the Kids project we are going to do several volunteer-based projects, the first of which is clean up and maintenance of M.E. DePalma Park here in Wilton Manors.”
While Durbin is excited about the future of EGC, he seems even more thrilled about others that will join in on the fun this year. EGC has plenty of room for new members, Durbin said.
The club meets the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Hagan Park Community Center. EGC was formerly known as the Equality Park Garden Club and met at the Pride Center.
“We would love for your readers to join us at one of our meetings. Every month is a new program bringing in a world-class speaker to educate and entertain us,” Durbin said. “We have wonderful refreshments, a members plant exchange, a plant auction and our much-loved plant raffle.”
For more information on the Equality Garden Club, contact them on Facebook at "EGC Equality Garden Club" or visit their website at EqualityGardenClub.com”