Project: serenity

August 3, 2010

By Sarah Sexton

Lowe’s volunteers beautify senior center patio

Courtney Jaren, executive director of Issaquah Valley Senior Center, steps out in the sun to admire the finished patio. By Sarah Sexton

A starkly undecorated patio at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center underwent a lush transformation July 10. Lowe’s Heroes planted geraniums, petunias, lobelia, marigolds and other basic plants that are colorful and easy to care for in pots all along the top of the walls surrounding the patio.

Generally small plants in size, it will be easy to pick off dead flowers to keep them looking fresh and to water consistently, given their exposure on the sunny patio. Lowe’s also installed a working fountain in the shape of a small girl standing on a little boy’s back, peering into a tall cylindrical bowl. The total cost of the project was $500.

Lowe’s did the project for free.

Gary Danberg, human resources manager, said Lowe’s gives away millions of dollars once per year to fund community relations and efforts, and Lowe’s Heroes is one of those projects. Each store is allotted its own amount of dollars to work with the community on a certain project.

“These are community organizations or school educational programs, things of that nature,” Danberg said.

Another project Lowe’s involves awarding the Snoqualmie Elementary School PTSA a grant of $4,300, for a Learning Garden at their school. Lowe’s will put in plants and flowers that attract butterflies, so children will learn first-hand about the whole life cycle of the butterfly, as well as how plants grow, photosynthesis and how to care for plants.

Courtney Jaren, executive director of the Issaquah Valley Senior Center, brought up the idea of the patio transformation. Jaren said that Lowe’s did the project based on a complaint from a number of seniors that “nobody ever uses the patio.”

“This was one of the first things people asked me to look into,” Jaren said. “Our board really wanted something to happen out there on the patio.”

“This is just one small project that Courtney and I commiserated on, and it worked out nicely,” Danberg said. “This should attract more people out here to enjoy the area, and they can take care of the plants themselves, and get involved that way. And it’s completely voluntary on the part of our people.”

Lowe’s has in the past provided support to local community organizations and to the communities where each store is located, he said.

“We approached the senior center a few months ago for any ideas they felt they needed our support with,” he said. “Courtney came up with the patio idea and we ran with that. We are so glad that it turned out so well.”

Sarah Sexton: 392-6434 or Comment at

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