Garden program at local juvenile detention center helping teens - KPTV - FOX 12

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Garden program at local juvenile detention center helping teens change their lives

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A new program is helping kids at a local juvenile detention center and FOX 12 got a rare look inside.

It's a new garden at the Donald E. Long School. Young inmates said it's teaching them about control, discipline and meeting goals.

The teens are growing a large garden full of vegetables and berries.

The project started a few months ago and was created in Multnomah County.

The Health and Vocational teacher shares a lesson in the classroom, then the teens go into the garden for hands on learning.

"When you start talking about gardening and you start bringing in new conversations and they're all learning at the same time, they have something in common to talk about and it's a healthy conversation and they go with it. It creates a community that cannot happen without a common ground," said Debi Lorence, Health and Vocational Education teacher at Donald E. Long School.

The teens in the gardening program really enjoy it.

"Coming to this little garden makes me feel like I've got a little more control of my life, whenever I plant a new seed, a little of my pain and happiness goes into the soil, it helps me free a little bit of my pain," said a 16-year-old in the program.

"It changed my life. I know this for a fact because the gardening has helped me overcome personal things in my life and I know the garden will change many lives," said an 18-year-old in the program.

In total, 24 teens are enrolled in the gardening program and can expand to include 72 teens.

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