How an Eagle Scout Helped an Angel Project Reach New Heights

 Above: Angel Donor David Yang with Boy scout Christopher Miller, standing in the Shirley Yang Memorial Garden

Above: Angel Donor David Yang with Boy scout Christopher Miller, standing in the Shirley Yang Memorial Garden

In September 2017, the Building and Grounds Committee of the Board of Trustees launched the Angel Projects Program, a collection of projects to repair, replace or upgrade various areas on our Church grounds. One of the earliest projects to be adopted was the garden near the front of the Church. Over the past several years, poor soil quality and lack of appropriate irrigation in that plot had turned this 650 square foot garden into a barren patch of dirt. 

David Yang, longtime church member, generously agreed to sponsor the funding of this project in loving memory of his wife, Shirley, who passed away in 2015. Between the two of them, they have served as part of Women's Fellowship, Christian Action Ministry, and the Board of Trustees throughout their years here.

The first stage of the project began in Fall 2017 with the tilling, grading and sloping of the garden-- dirt needed to be sloped towards the driveway to allow excess water to runoff.  A protective barrier also needed to be installed against the Church walls to prevent water damage to the building. An outside contractor performed this work with the help of our Facilities Manager, Doug Falzetti. Once that work was complete, the plot was one step closer to becoming a garden.

Around this time, Christopher Miller, a Boy Scout and member of the Church, ,was in search of a project to earn a design and construction badge toward becoming an Eagle Scout. Christopher and his family have been attending the Neighborhood Church since 2008 and he was baptized and confirmed here. He is active in our Youth Group and also serves as the co-president of the South Bay YMCA Pathfinders Parent Youth Group. Before one of his Youth Group Meetings, Christopher walked around the Church grounds, looking for areas in need of improvement or something that could potentially become an Eagle Scout Project. He noticed the empty dirt plot and realized that, as fate would have it, his project had found him. 

 Christopher Miller and his friend constructing the base of the pedestal for the statue.

Christopher Miller and his friend constructing the base of the pedestal for the statue.

After coordinating with Doug and our Angels Projects Committee, Christopher agreed to take on responsibility for designing and constructing a significant portion of the garden. He, with other Scouts, would install a stonework pathway and construct a pedestal that would be the central feature of the garden. His father, Loy Miller, donated the building materials for these items.

So, the dirt had been tilled, the land had been sloped, the irrigation had been installed and the brick had been laid... but what about the plants? 

Laurie Jester, longtime Church Member and landscaper extraordinaire, agreed to create a layout for the garden using a mix of water-wise plants and climbing vines to grow up the trellis that would fit in with the Church's current landscaping while creating a unique visual experience. 

 Laurie Jester's initial map of the garden. Laurie made sure to include drought tolerant, water wise shrubs in the layout as well as incorporating Palos Verdes Stone for the walkway. The majority of these plants were donated and installed by GS Brothers, with additional landscaping provided for by David Yang's Angel Project Sponsorship and Christopher Miller's Eagle Project. 

Laurie Jester's initial map of the garden. Laurie made sure to include drought tolerant, water wise shrubs in the layout as well as incorporating Palos Verdes Stone for the walkway. The majority of these plants were donated and installed by GS Brothers, with additional landscaping provided for by David Yang's Angel Project Sponsorship and Christopher Miller's Eagle Project. 

 Doug Falzetti and Laurie Jester helping out with the planting of plants and flowers in the garden. 

Doug Falzetti and Laurie Jester helping out with the planting of plants and flowers in the garden. 

While Laurie set to work designing the garden, Doug performed some final work on the irrigation system. One March Friday, he was out in the garden working on the sprinkler system when a valve burst and sent water spilling out into the driveway. We placed an emergency call to our landscapers, GS Brothers, who stopped by immediately to assess the problem. They noticed the work Doug was doing on the garden and asked him what the plans were for the area. When Doug told them, they offered to donate the plants and labor to finish the garden!

A week later, on March 16, GS Brothers returned with a truck full of plants and flowers. Together with some plants donated by Chrstopher and those purchased with David Yang's Angel Project donation, the garden was planted.  That weekend, Christopher and the Scouts returned to finish up the planting and install the lattice and trellis for the climbing jasmine. Through a number of small coincidences and the hard work of many, the Shirley Yang Memorial Garden was fully planted and ready for Easter Sunday.

A special thank you to everyone who worked so hard on this project!

If you would like to learn more about Angel Projects, are interested in sponsoring one, or have one in mind, please contact the Office

Lauren Hardin