Danville Parks and Rec uses trees to help at-risk kids make positive life choices

Kids to plant trees along city's Riverwalk Trail Tuesday

DANVILLE, Va. – A Danville program that encourages kids to make positive choices is taking root.

A half-dozen at-risk kids planted trees along the city's Riverwalk Trail Tuesday afternoon.

The program is a grant-funded program called "Seeds to Trees" through the Danville Parks and Recreation Department.

The kids are all between the ages of 6 and 12.

They planted River Birch trees along the Riverwalk Trail near the movie theater.

The goal of the program is to teach kids how to take care of themselves by teaching them about trees.

For example, every tree starts out small but can grow big if it's properly cared for.

Every person starts out small but can grow "big" and do great things if they make positive choices.

"They really got into the tree identification. Now, every time we walk around, 'What kind of tree is this? What use does this have?'" program coordinator Kyle Autrey said.

"We also learned trees, obviously we use them for furniture, flooring. They realize that trees, they need space just like we need space and that trees they need water; a lot of different factors that humans also need in their life to grow and succeed."

The kids spent the past five weeks in the program, learning about trees through field trips to local parks.

"Trees are the same as your bodies," 8-year-old Aaliyah Johnson said when asked what she had learned about trees.

"Sometimes, when I see trees with only two branches, I think of me because I only have two arms," said 10-year-old Kameran Brooks.

Tuesday's planting was the culmination of the program.

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