Lisa Masters, representing the Knight Stewards organization, a parent group of Metro-East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville, Illinois, gabbing with Marla and Tony about the Metro East Home and Garden Show. The Knight Stewards is a strongly established group of volunteer alumni, friends and families associated with Lutheran High School who work together to engage young adults in a faith-based environment, delivering academic excellence and spiritual growth to develop strong spiritual leaders.
One of the largest fundraisers sponsored by the Knight Stewards, has been the Metro East Home and Garden Show held in the spring for the last five years. Lisa has been involved in the event at some level every year since its inception. Last year she served as president of the organization, and this year she spear-headed the entire event as Project Manager. Not only does the event tangibly benefit Metro-East Lutheran High School, but Lisa states she and her team of volunteers have found it to be a strong community event connecting local vendors and business owners to people with an interest in home and gardening. These interests naturally include issues related to sustainability and pursuing a green or greener lifestyle.
Marla and Lisa connected through Lisa’s search for educational speakers to provide the show with something more than vendors and exhibitors. Lisa commented that “we’re all interested in doing a better job… of making better use of our money, time and environmental resources.” Marla’s educational message on how to make a more sustainable green home was a perfect fit for the show. Other speakers included a gentleman named Farmer Joe who spoke to children on the topic of gardening, as well as presentations on Home Staging and Home Inspections.
Along with seventy vendors, Lisa added the 2-day show included community services such as confidential on-site shredding, pet adoptions, fire safety demonstrations by the local fire department and fingerprinting for children by the Edwardsville Police Department. The show also provided free electronic recycling by CJD E-CYCLING, a family owned recycling company whose goal is to “contribute to a greener Earth by providing a legal means for companies and citizens of the Metro East, St. Louis, and surrounding areas to dispose of their electronic goods and metals.” And if that wasn’t enough, there was a climbing wall and a monster truck! Amazingly this is one of the few Home and Garden shows that is free as the funding primarily comes from the exhibitors.
Repairing Before Recycling
Getting back to electronic recycling, Tony adds that around the studio there’s always an abundance of electronics needing to be recycled and he was thrilled to discover a Mom and Pop company that would pick up the electronics for free. The couple then took them apart to clean, glean, repair and resell the salvageable parts on eBay to people looking for hard to find components for older electronics.
On that same note, a standout moment for Lisa was the phrase “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle,” from Marla’s presentation at the show. Lisa shares she had heard the phrase before but had not thought of Marla’s following statement that “those words are in that particular order for a reason; the best process is to reduce what you use first, then reuse and then the last option is to recycle.” Only if we can’t reuse it or repair it do we then recycle.
Marla’s hope is that we return to our grandparent’s way of thinking of repairing items before sending them off to be recycled. Sometimes we have the mindset that we can skip the repair process because we feel good about recycling. While it’s true that recycling is better than throwing things in the trash, repairing items helps send less garbage to the landfills and helps us get more value out of our electronics and appliances.
Good Stewardship and Being an Ambassador
Marla posed the question, “what gets you excited about the ideas of sustainability; is it the community tie-in or the vision of the school?” Lisa responded that it’s both because “as a faith-based school we take the concept that God has made the earth for us and it’s our job to leave it better than we found it.” In a nutshell, it’s stewardship. Lisa goes on to say, it’s important to the community of Edwardsville to be an advocate for sustainability, to walk the talk, if you will. For example, most of the surrounding elementary and middle school students have heard of the concept of sustainability, so by the time they arrive at Metro-East Lutheran High they no longer reach for a disposable water bottle before heading off to school but refill their metal reusable water container. The good news is that like Metro East Lutheran, we are seeing more faith-based organizations get involved in sustainability in a more organized fashion.
Another favorite part of the day for Marla was how involved, helpful and attentive the High School students were. They seemed to truly want to be a part of the event and not participating just for service hours. Lisa confirmed that “they were wonderful students to work with, very polite, and a pleasure to be around.” They truly went beyond the call of duty throughout the 3-day event from preparation to cleanup.
We often forget that sustainability is about a lot more than being eco-friendly or environmentally conscious, going green or being more energy efficient. It’s also about what we do for the community, as Tony states, “Sustainability is about the big picture and the true impact on the community and the world itself.”
From urban renewal, building or renovating a home to planting a rooftop garden or repairing a vacuum cleaner, one thing Marla urges people to do is to “become an ambassador, with whatever level of knowledge you have about sustainability, as one of the greatest gifts we have is what we know and can give to other people.”
The 2019 Metro East Home and Garden Show
If you are involved in anything relating to the home industry, from real-estate agents, home inspectors, to someone who helps people “green-up” their home or lifestyle, this might be the show for you. Next year’s event is set for St Patrick’s day on March 16 -17, 2019. Be sure and visit the Metro East Home and Garden website (listed below in Resources) for more information. However, the best way to get involved is to call the Metro-East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville, Illinois at (618) 656-0043, the office staff can point you in the right direction.
Much applause and thanks to Lisa for her great contribution in spear-heading this amazing sustainable community event. Marla states she is already looking forward to participating again in next year’s Knight Stewards’ fund-raising event, The Metro East Home and Garden Show held in the gym at Metro-East Lutheran High School’s in Edwardsville, Illinois
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