2012 (the beginning) – 2013

In 2012, Hansberry Garden and Nature Center (HGNC) received a planning grant from the Community Design Collaborative (CDC) for creating a dynamic play and community space using greening and sustainable models.  

After six months of meetings with the design team, community and school, the design team presented a plan.

Read the CDC plan for John B. Kelly School here.

Greening Kelly School PPT Images-page16 copy Original copy copy
A proposed image for the Kelly Schoolyard.

The plan included space for active play, gardening, outdoor education and entertainment space. 


As 2013 began, a Kelly Green Planning Committee began to focus on broadening community interest and support while also developing fund-raising strategies. Soon after, a grant from the Penn State PRO Wellness Center allowed Kelly Green to hire interns to support a structured recess program at Kelly.

Volunteer At Kelly School

Interns and students practice linedancing
Interns and students practice linedancing

In June of 2013 Kelly Green sponsored its first event; a “Let’s Move!” Community Day at John B. Kelly.  Along with food and games, community members joined with Kelly students in showing off their moves as part of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. 


 While running the recess program, Penn State Master Gardeners and community volunteers renovated the dormant student garden. Thanks to active participation and dedication, the garden flourished through the summer into the fall.

Students stand proudly in front of the garden.
Students stand proudly in front of their garden.

By the Fall of 2013, Kelly Green was receiving attention from an array of community and citywide leaders. Civic support came from Councilwoman Cindy Bass as well as local community organizations. 

Other organizations such as the PA Horticultural Society, became engaged with the project along with local faith-based communities, such as Germantown Monthly Meeting and Canaan Baptist Church. 

We were also happy to see the grandson of the school’s namesake, John B. Kelly III become a part of the initiative.

We were also happy to see the grandson of the school’s namesake, John B. Kelly III become a part of the initiative!