Organic Vegetable Garden
A former middle school history teacher and counselor, Douglas “Doug” Grant worked at San Antonio, Texas’ Northside ISD from 1987 to 2013, during which time he coordinated multiple recreation programs and served as a campus life volunteer and teacher sponsor. In his free time, Douglas Grant enjoys organic vegetable gardening.
Creating an organic vegetable garden in your own backyard can be easy if you take the right steps. For starters, you should focus not only on vegetables you and your family actually eat, but ones that are known to thrive in your local climate. Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and string beans are popular choices because they will produce for months. Knowing where to plant is just as vital as knowing what to plant. Choose an area that offers at least six hours of direct sunlight in your main growing season and make sure to protect your garden bed from high winds by positioning it near a wall or behind bushes, or by erecting a sturdy trellis.
You should also have the soil in your garden tested for nutrient deficiency and ph level, whether through the local cooperative extension office or by a do-it-yourself method. This will help you to determine how to improve the soil for the particular vegetables you plan on growing. If the soil is rocky in the area you choose, consider constructing a raised bed vegetable garden instead. Organic seeds can be purchased at local garden centers and retail outlets, and there are also reputable mail-order companies such as the Sustainable Seed Co. and High Mowing Organic Seeds, among others, that ship 100 percent certified organic seeds.
Douglas Grant is a former middle school teacher and counselor with nearly 30 years of experience. Beyond his role as a teacher, Douglas “Doug” Grant volunteers with Trinity Oaks, a Texas-based nonprofit organization that provides hunting and fishing programming and donates meat to food pantries and homeless shelters throughout the state.
Since 2007, Trinity Oaks’ programs have helped over 3,400 people experience the thrill of hunting. The nonprofit primarily supports military veterans and underprivileged youth. One of its recently implemented programs, StarKids, provides outdoor programming for children of deceased combat veterans and first responders. The free program, available to boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 18, began in the spring of 2017. Each child is partnered with a member of the agency to which his or her deceased parent belonged. Both the child and the mentor become hunter safety certified and, along with other child-mentor partners, participate in a deer or hog hunt.
The goal of the program is to help children deal with the grieving process while also forging a lasting mentor relationship with a professional who has responsibilities and life experiences similar to their parent.
River City Community Church
Douglas Grant has launched innovative programs as a teacher for San Antonio public schools. In addition to serving as a teacher, Douglas Grant is now a counselor for South Texas Rural Health Services. Doug Grant also worships at River City Community Church.
In addition to weekly worship, River City offers several programs tasked with educating members and reaching out to the San Antonio community.
Many River City members are part of small groups of eight to ten individuals or three to four couples. Participants meet three or four times a month to support each other, pray, and discuss the Bible. Before joining, prospective members sign up for Grouplink, a two-hour event that connects persons in similar life circumstances.
Another tool for growth is River City University, composed of classes and groups organized into five domains: marriage and family, Biblical studies, foundations, support and recovery, and pastoral leadership.
Real Life Christian Assistance ministers to the community on the third Saturday of every month. On that day, persons in need can select free items from a food pantry and enjoy a hot meal. Visitors also have the opportunity to buy gently used clothes and swap children’s clothes for different sizes.
Down Syndrome Association
A teacher by profession, Douglas (Doug) Grant upholds a commitment to serving his community. Outside his work as a teacher, Douglas Grant supports the Down Syndrome Association, which hosts events and social groups for individuals with special needs and their families.
The Down Syndrome Association of South Texas (DSAST) offers programming for individuals of all ages who have Down’s Syndrome, while also providing targeted events for their parents, siblings, and communities. The youngest participants can engage in the organization’s music and movement program, which is available for children ages zero through five. The program welcomes age-eligible children with any special needs, including Down syndrome, and is open to their siblings in the same age group as well.
Starting at four years old, children with Down syndrome and other special needs can enroll in the organization’s tennis club, which features teaching from nationally certified instructors. There is also a swim team available for children ages 6 to 12, divided into two age groups. Participants ages 13 and above are welcome to the art club, cooking club, or Club UP!, all of which offer learning as well as social connections.
Programs are also available for family members of individuals with special needs. There are separate groups for mothers and for fathers, each of which combines community support and information sharing with fun and play. Meanwhile, the organizations’ SibShops program provides similar resources in an age-appropriate format for 7- to 16-year-old brothers and sisters of those with special needs.
Trinity Oaks Foundation
Having worked as a middle school teacher and school counselor for over twenty years, Douglas “Doug” Grant is currently a licensed professional counselor. He practices in a variety of areas, including geropsychology, addiction, and crisis/trauma counseling. Douglas Grant also supports a number of charitable organizations, including the Trinity Oaks Foundation.
The Trinity Oaks Foundation helps families in need by donating wild game meat, which can be used for meals. Established in 2007, the foundation is a nonprofit organization that uses outdoor hunting and fishing activities to give back to the community. Since its inception, the foundation has helped more than 3,400 people.
The Trinity Oaks Foundation distributes more than 9,000 pounds of meat each month to families and individuals throughout the Southern Texas and Northern Mexico area. The program also helps support combat veterans and Purple Heart recipients who have family members that are dealing with terminal illnesses along with young people in need.
Muller’s Ark Ranch
A licensed professional counselor in Texas with more than a decade of experience as a middle school teacher, Douglas (Doug) Grant formerly worked as a U.S. history teacher in the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio. In his free time, Douglas Grant enjoys spending time outdoors and especially likes visiting Muller’s Ark Ranch.
Located on 100 acres in the city of Bandera, Muller’s Ark Ranch provides visitors an abundance of outdoor activities in the Texas Hill Country. The ranch’s riverfront gives guests the opportunity to enjoy swimming and picnicking. Also featuring a private lake, the ranch offers great fishing and opportunities to see diverse wildlife, such as deer, wild turkey, peafowl, and geese.
Muller’s Ark Ranch provides several unique places to spend the night, including the two-bedroom Lake House, with its native cypress log beds and a four-poster queen bed, and the Ark Cottage, which also has two bedrooms and overlooks the Medina River. Guests can also stay in the Caboose, which is a real train caboose that has been transformed into a mini-house with a complete kitchen, a bath with a shower, air conditioning, and a wood-burning Franklin stove.
To learn more about Muller’s Ark Ranch, visit www.mullersark.com.
Former teacher Douglas (Doug) Grant possesses significant experience teaching in Texas middle schools. In addition to his work as a classroom teacher, Douglas Grant has previously served as a school counselor. He currently uses these skills as a counselor at South Texas Rural Health Services, where he utilizes sensory integration techniques and play therapy in his work with families.
Play therapy is an effective way for behavioral health professionals to understand what a child is feeling. Children rarely have full control over situations in their lives, but they get to assume a position of power during play time. Toys in hand, they are free to act out emotional experiences with total control.
This is a powerful form of communication. Through free association, children who struggle to articulate feelings verbally can express themselves in a way that social workers and therapists can understand.
In filial play therapy, parents participate too. This method is becoming more popular, as it allows professionals to see how children relate to their parents during play. Play health practitioners can use this approach to help improve communication or understand other issues that may be occurring in the home.
National Archery in the Schools Program
A teacher by training and experience, Douglas “Doug” Grant enjoys hunting and fishing in his free time. Douglas Grant is an experienced bow hunter, primarily of feral hogs and predators, and has been certified as an instructor through the National Archery in the Schools Program.
When selecting equipment for bow hunting, experts suggest a bow with a draw weight of 50 pounds or more, though the primary concern is that the draw be comfortable. The archer should be able to pull back the bowstring while sitting, and without having to raise the bow above the head in order to get the string back. Whatever that draw weight is, archers are advised to choose a bow with a maximum draw force 10 pounds above that comfortable limit, then back it down until the archery muscles can be strengthened to handle the additional force; but any more of a draw weight could cause a serious shoulder injury.
The bow should have a draw length that allows the elbow on the shooter’s release arm to point parallel away from the target, and with the index finger close to the corner of the mouth in the case of finger shooting. The brace height, or space from the back of the grip to the string, should be approximately seven to eight inches, as this supports most hunters’ form while delivering adequate energy.
The archer will also need to choose a release, which may be a finger-triggered wrist strap release or a hand-held release with a thumb trigger. The choice between the two is a personal preference, as is the choice between a full-capture or drop-away arrow rest.
An archer will also want to have a high-quality sight, which should include spooled fibers and three pins. A bit of practice will help the archer to set the pins in a way that maximizes visibility. A large peep sight and round pin guard, however, can provide the archer with an advantage at the start.