Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Plumas Co CA :: Berkshire Co MA :: Baltimore MD

Abandoned courts blossom with new purpose
Plumas News: 6.03.2017 by Victoria Metcalf

It’s easy to see why a good game of tennis hasn’t taken place on the Gansner Park courts for some time. Cracks are a good place for weeds to take hold, and the surface dips and buckles in various places. Dried leaves, not abandoned tennis balls line the parameter of the chain link fencing. Hopefully by late summer, rich crops of vegetables will have taken over.

Long disused tennis courts at Gansner Park are being repurposed — as family gardens.

Instead of black asphalt with grass and weeds growing between the cracks, this summer it will be a place where vegetables and fruit grow.

It’s definitely a case of out with the old and in with the new in more than one sense. When Plumas County Literacy abandoned its Garden Behind Bars program, it was time to move to a new location.

With permission from Plumas County Facilities Services Director Dony Sawchuk and a nod from Supervisor Lori Simpson, and of course the key to unlock the long unused gate, the new program began.

Last summer and fall, inmates began removing soil and disassembling raised boxes and a redwood greenhouse that took up the back portion of the Plumas County Sheriff’s Corrections Center. Originally, the task began when Plumas County Literacy was told that a large greenhouse was going to be installed. The greenhouse didn’t materialize, but the dirt and materials were piled for future use.

That first summer of Garden Behind Bars in 2013 was filled with plans and promises.

Thanks to a dedicated crew of inmates, including a former contractor who seemingly could build anything provided he had the wood and the tools — the program grew and grew. Inmates had the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of fresh tomatoes, salad greens and much more.

But then new programs, work opportunities, electronic monitoring and house arrest reduced the number of inmates available to work in the garden.  READ MORE @


David is also reveling in the independence his newfound literacy grants him. He’s no longer afraid of taking public transportation, and loves that he can find his way around on the bus or on the train. Learning to read and write has opened so many doors for him — both literally and spiritually.  WATCH VIDEO

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