Like many Youth Farmers, Jack found his way to the garden by following the footsteps of his older brother. It was nearly 10 years ago when I met the 9 year old version of Jack. He had very long hair and was full of energy, the kind of energy that got him chosen first for dodgeball games. Jack continued with YF for each summer until he was too old to participate. Wanting to contribute to the program that supported him, he then applied to be an intern and and a member of our summer staff team. Jack was clearly one of our top candidates, he showed maturity, thoughtfulness and patience; all essential skills for the work Youth Farm does.
Jack has worked at YF for the past three and a half years, over that time he has grown in all aspects of his role and as a person as well. He connects with the youth we work with, his community, and his coworkers in authentic ways. Jack is extremely reliable, consistent, and has shown perseverance throughout his life. He balances his school work, jobs, health, and art.
At Youth Farm, Jack shows exceptional leadership qualities. His co-workers and classmates look to him for guidance, advice, and support. He has applied and been accepted into leadership positions at school and work. His ability to rally youth and his peers around a task is impressive: from getting a group of 9 year-olds to clean up a workspace in the kitchen or garden, to offering supportive words during a difficult time.
Now that Jack has graduated he will be heading to New Jersey to pursue his passion in glass art at Salem Community College. His glass skills became apparent a few years ago when his constantly changing necklace pieces became a regular topic of discussion and admiration from everyone at Youth Farm. It was even more apparent when others were wearing pieces he made as well. His pride and confidence in his work justifiably grew and he has since became a regular art vendor at the West Side Farmer’s Market. You can check out some of his current work here. We all at YF wish him well in the next stage of his life and are excited that he will be a part of the West Side team this summer.
*This post is part of a series of posts recognizing Youth Farm’s graduating seniors. It was written by former West Side Program Director Tyler Berres*