Our recent volunteer spotlight featured Jamie Valentine, a volunteer at Portland’s Columbia River Correctional Institution. Jamie is relatively new to Lettuce Grow, but has been eager to jump in to help whenever she can. She tells us, “My favorite thing about volunteering with CRCI is seeing the guys’ passion in the garden. When they walk outside it seems like some torment is alleviated and they get really happy to take care of the plants. They talk about their future and many of them want to incorporate gardening into their lives when released.”
She continues, “My favorite moment was helping the guys thin out the plants that were overcrowded: They were so concerned with pulling out and killing the starts. It really bothered them to destroy something that was living and showed how much they appreciate and cared for their garden.”
Jamie waxes philosophic, “This work is important to me because I think it is integral to realize that having done something wrong in the past does not mean you are a terrible person. We are so much more than a synopsis of our negatives and I want these guys to experience positivity and see they have the ability to succeed.”
Jamie’s favorite veggies to grow and eat: “I love picking and grazing while I work. But I think my favorite to grow would be peas, I enjoy watching them reach for the next piece of twine or stick with their tendrils.”
Jamie, thanks for your gentle, bright-eyed presence in the garden. We love you too.