Tassafaronga Village resident and teenager Brian Diaz shares what he learned working on our farm and as a junior camp counselor with Camp ANV…

Brian Diaz grew up in Tassafaronga Village, and his older brother, the first in their family to attend college, introduced Brian to Acta Non Verba and myself. Upon meeting him and hearing his passion to make a difference in his community, I hired him as an intern.

As an intern, Brian worked on the farm, weeding, planting, and practicing integrated pest management. As a camp counselor he let the kids learn to tie knots on his shoes, was always game for a race, and made sure they ate their greens. He was so popular among the campers, whenever Brian’s neighborhood soccer team played, he would have a whole cheering section screaming “Go Mr. Brian!”.

I could see how much Brian made a difference to our campers but it wasn’t until he left for a service learning project in Nicaragua (working with an elementary school to teach them to grow food the ANV way), that I learned how much of an impact ANV had on Brian when he sent me the following text:

“I remember the part where you said something about PTSD and how the [ANV] garden is kind of like a place where you can escape everything around you. Or in other words, ‘get out the hood and erase some of those bad memories’ and it really is… I grew up seeing some things I wouldn’t want kids my age at the time seeing and that video really got to me. Especially since it’s true the garden has helped a lot with things like that. Just felt I had to say that. LOL.”

We are so grateful for Brian’s passion and his hard work, and we can’t wait to hear about the great things he will do. Watch the video that moved Brian: