Youth garden provides more than just food

Youth garden provides more than just food

By Rikki Mitchell. CREATED Jul 15, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - We cant show you the faces that go with the green thumbs, but we can show you the fruits and vegetables of their labor.

The garden project at the Pima County Juvenile Court Center started two years ago. It teaches the young people detained there about nutrition, and gives them a chance to get outside and use their hands.

The plants are even grown in old restraint beds, which used to hold kids down who misbehaved. Now they hold ripe red peppers, and colorful potted plants.

"This is part of a healthy lifestyle," said Stacy Peercy, an intern at the detention center. "So learning about physical activity, where do fruits and vegetables come from."

Detainees are waiting for court dates, placement in rehab centers or serving time because they violated their probation.

But the staff here wants to help, not treat them like criminals.

"The goal of detention is to rehabilitate youth," says Guy McLee, a juvenile detention alternative specialist. "So anything, any program, any skills that the kids can learn to help them become productive citizens, we're all for it."

And those skills are already paying off in the center's kitchen and in the community. What isn't eaten by the youth goes straight to the Community Food Bank.


Rikki Mitchell

Rikki Mitchell

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Rikki Mitchell is a proud University of Arizona grad and joined the KGUN9 team after graduation. Rikki reports for the evening newscasts.