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City Heights Youth Garden Helps Grow Job Skills

Students prepare soil to plant seeds at Second Chance Youth Garden, March 29,...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: Students prepare soil to plant seeds at Second Chance Youth Garden, March 29, 2018.

Students are growing vegetables, fruits and opportunities at the Second Chance Youth Garden in City Heights.

The six-week program combines hands-on urban gardening lessons and classroom learning. Students learn about planting, composting, and harvesting crops. Second Chance CEO Robert Coleman said the program wants to give them practical job experience and a chance to explore different career paths.

According to the program's website, students also gain customer service and social skills by selling Second Chance produce at a nearby farm stand every Thursday. In addition to work ethic, students receive school credit and a weekly stipend.

Photo caption: Students help customers at Second Chance Farm Stand, March 29, 2018.

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Students help customers at Second Chance Farm Stand, March 29, 2018.

Shakira Brittingham is a junior at Innovation High School and a participant in the Second Chance Youth Garden.

“The garden is beautiful because I actually took the time to give back to the community and can actually grow at home,” Brittingham said.

Some of the items grown are dyno kale, collard greens, carrots, radishes and lemons. Brittingham said the program taught her time management, communication skills and dedication.

Second Chance also operates job centers in the East Mesa and Las Colinas Detention Facilities, which includes job training programs and transitional housing for inmates who are re-entering society.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story cited the garden's location as City Heights. The garden's location is in the Encanto neighborhood.

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