16 years old
School Garden Initiative
My name is Jose. I am 16 years old and I am a participant of the School Garden Initiative.
The garden is my place of peace and tranquility, where I can go to focus on the present and leave the past behind. Because of a difficult family situation, I changed a lot. I lost my self-confidence and it was impossible for me to live and communicate with my family. But when I’m taking care of the garden, a little bit of my happiness returns and I feel I can move on with my life.
In addition to being entertained and distracted, I have learned something new — how to take care of plants. From ten classmates who have participated in this initiative, I’m the only one who has stayed and promised to take full responsibility for the garden. I choose to take care of the little plants instead of wasting my time hanging out on the street. For a moment, the gardens were neglected and I had the responsibility of rescuing them from a plague. Rescuing them helped me a lot. I was really focused on saving the garden, so I was able to spend a lot of time there. I felt useful. I knew that the life of these little plants was in my hands. This sense of having a purpose in life helped me to recover my mental health and emotional well-being.
Thanks to the program, I have had to socialize with other people and this has also helped me improve my communication. In a way, I feel the program came to save me from my past. I hope this continues because I know that other young people need it, just like I did, too.