Community garden project helping Columbus children stay away from violence

Columbus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Over at the Highland Youth Garden, teenagers are taught not only how to grow plants and food, but also to build relationships with those around them.

The summer-long initiative, funded by the city of Columbus, aims to stop violent crime involving young people.

“And we’re also providing them real training in gardening, but also food justice issues, career exploration, job skill,” said Shelly Casto, executive director for the Highland Youth Garden.

These lessons are already having a positive impact on teens.

Like 14-year-old Katlyn Robinson, who said at her age, being able to give back to her community, is something she feels she can be proud of.

“It motivates me a lot because it helps our community grow, and so people who don’t have food, we can donate some to help them,” Robinson said.

For others like Robert Alexander Jr., who says he can sometimes have trouble making new friends, it’s given him a way to meet and grow with other people.

“All these people to interact with is like, it seems extremely fun basically,” Alexander said. “I like working with them, I like how we’re able to come and ask each other for help without any, without any hesitation.”

Several of the teens said they’ll be continuing the program into the fall and winter as well, in which they’ll also take on a mentorship role to younger kids, in how to grow and maintain a garden.

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