Teaching Garden-Casa Pacifica

I have had the great fortune to do a bit of jumping around with the kids while my friend Kelly Meyer organizes the Teaching Garden.  Her organization goes to schools and plants gardens that they leave with the students. If the school has no grass and is all cement then the gardens are brought in large boxes.  The students are taught how to care for the garden, and will even have the chance to eat some of the foods harvested out of their garden for lunch.  The idea is to reconnect the kids to the idea of where food really comes from (or at least should come from).  Teach them about the importance of good food, and then slip the message in of how moving or “playing” is a part of caring for their vehicle (body).  We put a little music on and play a little game I like to call “Gabby says”.  Simon who?

Anyway it’s good fun, and worth it even if you just reach one person.  I admire all of the work Kelly, Chi, and her crew has done with the gardens.  It really is amazing.

Well, this weekend we went to a shelter in Camarillo called Casa Pacifica.  This is a full functioning home and school campus for children who have been abused or whose parents are dealing with some sort of substance problem.  The children are taken from their homes and now live in the cottages at CP and are schooled right there on the mini campus.

If you go and visit you will see kids as young as 3 months, and as old as seventeen.  Casa Pacifica is clean, and even has a pool, and when you visit you may even feel like “hey, this isn’t so bad”.  Well, B.S. because this isn’t their home and they are not with their families.  I applaud and appreciate the service that CP is providing but these kids and young adults are dealing with being uprooted from their home and having to live in this shelter.  I wish I could have touched the arm of all the kids to remind them that they are special and valuable people and that it isn’t their fault.  I get about 30 minutes and that’s it.

I brought my two girls with me to see for themselves the realities that some people are living in.  I could remind them daily how fortunate they are or they can just learn for themselves.  I’m not even sure if they fully understand, but I want them to be aware and sensitive to their fellow man’s walk.

It is heart breaking, but then I am reminded it is not about me.  It is about serving whenever you can, in a way that is real to who you are.  We all have special gifts to give, and when the opportunity arises we must say yes.  We all need each other, and sometimes (especially young people) need a little support to help them get to the next phase of life successfully.

I am continually reminded on how many things are not problems in life, and to say THANK YOU every day.  One shouldn’t feel bad for having it good, but it’s nice if they show some gratitude.

Remember, take care of yourself, your family, your neighbor, your block, and then see if you can extend that to your community.
Best, Gabby