Sunday, March 2, 2014

What a great idea to bring people together in a useful and productive way! I know of one Judge in the area that orders defendants to provide 460 pounds of food to a local food bank as a way to fulfill their community service. He does not tell them how to do it. They have to figure it out. He is causing them to think and plan and organize an effort that is on a scale they may not have thought about before. This will put the defendants in contact with people who care about the community and others. This judge has a vision for teaching and not just incarceration as an answer to crime. While I am impressed and appreciate this just and noble cause, and plan to congratulate the judge on his ingenuity, most of what is collected is non-perishables. People need fresh produce to be healthy. Creating and managing a city garden that defendants are ordered to work in would not only provide fresh vegetables to the food bank but also give the defendants an opportunity to learn how to produce food for themselves and others. In addition, their supervisor could teach life skills and values while the defendants are working. Those who are ADD, ADHD, or Kinesthetic learners, learn best while moving. I am not saying all defendants have learning challenges, but I bet a percentage does and what better way to provide a learning environment best suited to their learning style? Adding a productive activity such as gardening provides an opportunity to teach in such a way that the information will stick. This is going to be one of my goals this year, to write a letter to a local judge and city planner and see what happens. To borrow a phrase from a song, “this could be the start of something big”!