CARSON, Calif.–Leapwood Elementary School has won a garden that will grow something much more precious than vegetables or flowers. It is a garden where minds grow, and it’s called a Reading Garden.

“We are thrilled, for the first time, to award Carson’s own Leapwood Avenue Elementary School with a custom-built Reading Garden,” said Tamala Lewis, director of the Home Depot Center Charitable Foundation. “This important community initiative is made possible by our partnership with the LA Galaxy Foundation and the Home Depot, and we look forward to the build next month.”

Leapwood won the garden as a result of winning the 2011 Reading Garden Challenge. Consequently, the garden will be built on the school campus. Last year, the Stephen C. Foster Elementary School in Compton won the challenge and had the garden built on its campus.

According to Alison Groendal Salcedo of Home Depot communications, the garden is a decorated outdoor space with plants and benches that encourage reading and learning, and at the same celebrates the outdoors and Earth Day.

The challenge called for schools and students (grades K-5) to focus on Earth Day by reading Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” as part of the National Education Association’s Lorax project student Earth Day. Youngsters are challenged to create posters based on one of the following environmentally friendly themes: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle; Save a Tree; Don’t Waste Water; and Conserve Energy.

The top five schools with the most posters reflecting the themes were entered into a random drawing conducted by the LA Galaxy Foundation, the Home Depot Center Charitable Foundation and the Home Depot to have a Reading Garden built at their school.

The Leapwood Reading Garden will be built during the week of April 11, with volunteers from the Home Depot Center, the LA Galaxy and the Home Depot. In addition, various workshops will be conducted at the school with students as part of the Reading Garden preparations.

In support of the Reading Garden, South Bay Pavilion Mall in Carson, will display the top four entries from the Leapwood school between April 20-24.

The Reading Garden is funded with proceeds from the 2010 How Suite It Is! fundraiser, and contributions from the three aforementioned funding sources. In addition, Lakeshore Learning Materials will donate seat cushions for the Reading Garden.

On August 20, the Galaxy Foundation and the Home Depot Center Charitable Foundation will host the 2011 How Suite It Is! fundraiser prior to the Galaxy’s home soccer game against the San Jose Earthquakes to raise funds for additional Reading Gardens.

For more information on the Reading Garden Challenge and to view images from last year’s Reading Garden, please visit