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Urban Gardening Program Helps Juvenile Offenders Uproot Their LIves

An urban-gardening program in Encanto is imparting life skills to juvenile offenders. The non-profit Second Chance teaches the youths about planting, transplanting and composting, along with lessons about life.

Eddie Garcia graduated from the 10-week program today, and said he wants to keep working with plants.

“I like just being around them, just knowing how they grow, how the roots grow,” he said. “It’s just interesting. It can be like a little small plant and it can just be really big and it can grow. It’s really fun to do.”

Scott Silverman is Second Chance’s founder. He said program participants grow alongside the plants.

“When you start from a seedling and watch it grow, there’s a real pattern of comfortability and some ownership and a maturation process, not just for the plant but for the people we’re serving,” he said.

Garcia said the program taught him to focus on the positive.

“At first I was hard-headed and I didn’t want to talk about myself, I didn’t want to say nothing about myself,” he said. “But throughout the weeks I started learning that there’s people who do care about you, who do want to help you out. It’s a really great environment, it made me change the way I used to think. I think positive now. I want to make something better of myself.”

Second Chance plans to sell the produce at local farmers markets.

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