We are constantly astounded by the youth who choose to be involved in our programs. They are all extremely smart, charismatic, and multi-talented, characteristics that are easy to see in Project LEAD Pedro Bayon.
Pedro originally got involved at Youth Farm because his mom was looking for neighborhood activities to keep his active mind busy during the summer. However, his engagement with Youth Farm has lasted much longer than just one summer, as he has now been involved for five years.
“Although my mom totally forced me in, I clearly remember that my very first day at Youth Farm set the tone for how things are here,” Pedro said. “From the second I walked in everyone was so friendly and made me feel comfortable. I’ve stayed involved for so many years because of this positive and welcoming atmosphere and because I genuinely have fun when I am here.”
Throughout the years, Pedro has not only stayed involved with Youth Farm programs, he has also taken his home gardening to the next level.
“Before starting Youth Farm I was interested in gardening, but not nearly as interested as I am now,” Pedro said. “When I started here my family had a very small garden with some tomatoes and a few flowers. Now I have started growing a larger variety of flowers, including sunflowers, and a variety of vegetables like snap peas. I also helped my family start our own compost.”
Pedro embodies our mission by not only learning about urban agriculture and sustainable practices, but taking what he has learned and teaching it to others. Through motivated leaders like Pedro, we envision a youth-led food movement taking over the Twin Cities.
As a recent high school graduate, Pedro has had some time to reflect on the skills he has developed at Youth Farm and how they will impact his life moving forward.
“Through Youth Farm I have really developed my character,” Pedro said. “I have been given responsibilities like running classes and games for younger youth that have helped me develop into a leader, organizer, and role model.”
As Pedro moves into his adult life, he plans to continue using his skills and passions for gardening, leading, and performing. This coming fall he will be attending Augsburg University to pursue a degree in Music Business and Music Performance.
“I am really excited for college, but I really think that Youth Farm is such a unique community and I hope to find a community like this wherever I go,” Pedro said. “It is truly amazing how the staff, community, and youth are connected in such a meaningful way.”
As our youth grow up and go out into the world, we hope that the impact we have made in their lives, and the impact they have made in ours, shines through. Nothing makes us prouder than the leaders we are able to witness achieve their goals and make this world a more connected and conscious place.