Judy McLean, a volunteer with our garden program at Columbia River Correctional Facility in Portland, comes to us from a beautiful and varied background. Judy has worked in carpentry, residential weatherization, lighting, and finally finishing up as an office facilitator when she retired a few years ago. Judy decided that she needed more garden training after starting a backyard garden in 2011 and realizing how much she had to learn. She enrolled in the Master Gardener program the following year and hasn’t skipped a beat since.
Judy tells us, “My favorite thing about gardening at CRCI is when the guys get excited about sampling the first harvest – the look of satisfaction on their faces knowing that they contributed to that harvest with their hard work. What motivates me is that it is a continual learning experience. I learn from them just as much as they learn from the class. It’s a discovery process that we share together and it’s fun.” Judy’s least favorite aspect of gardening: pest management. We hear you, lady.
Judy has doubled her investment in the men at CRCI by working with Phoenix Rising Transitions, a nonprofit that works to foster smooth transitions from incarceration into the community. Judy takes part in group sharing activities that are designed to help participants see their commonalities and build trusting relationships. We love what you’re doing with us and with PRT, Judy!