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A special school based in Brentwood-Darlington helps finance its services to students with a plant and produce sale

DAVID F. ASHTON - Kimberly DiLeo told THE BEE that she was thrilled with the plants she found at the Community Transition Program plant sale this year. Vegetable starts, annuals, perennials, houseplants, succulents, hanging baskets, and more — this wide variety of vegetation was why people from all over the Portland Metro came to the first day of the Community Transition Program's annual plant sale on a Saturday, this spring.

"This is my favorite Plant Sale of the year; I buy plants that I don't really need, but which I really enjoy!" confided Brentwood-Darlington resident Kimberly DiLeo, as she browsed the greenhouse with plants in hand.

Providing information while serving as cashier was Community Transition Program "Vocational Transition Specialist" Rachel Hermansen. "Our students use this greenhouse and our gardens as part of their vocational training program; they've started all the plants that we're selling here today, from seeds and propagation!"

The Community Transition Program supports students who are young adults, between ages of 18 and 21, who have an "Individualized Education Plan", and graduated from high school with a modified diploma, an extended diploma, or an alternative certificate. "This program is part of Portland Public Schools, and provides vocational training, independent living skills training, and community training," Hermansen told THE BEE.

"So, the gardens, the greenhouse, and the landscaping program are all parts of our training program to help build skills and work-readiness for students, as they pursue paid employment in the community," she explained. "And, we're really well-known for our great hanging baskets!"

All of the funds raised will go back into the school's "Garden-based Education Program", to defray the cost of supplies and equipment.

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