I’ll be the first to admit: tending to a garden was never part of my “plan”. Geology was definitely not my favorite class in college either. Finding myself in the Pacheco Community Center class and listening to the professor talk about phosphorous soil, I watched everyone listen attentively as they passed the mate around. They were learning the same thing I did once in a lecture hall filled with about 200 people. The difference here was about 190 people and a beautiful view of a green space. It was refreshing being taught in such an intimate setting that encouraged dialogue between the teacher and the students.
That had been the second Saturday I had made the early morning journey to the Pacheco Community Center. Since then, my Saturdays still consist of early starts, mate and learning about the environment in Spanish. Although, it’s not as taxing as it seems: imagine waking up and meeting all of your friends in the living room….that’s what it feels like to be in class at Pacheco.
Everyone a part of the class is around my age (17-23 years old). Although the reality is that we come from different worlds, our eagerness to learn and want to change things for the better has made me feel more connected to this group of people than any other. I respect this group’s courage to speak up when they don’t agree with something and their easiness with which they ask if they don’t understand something else. It has made me realize that at Pacheco, the young people are there because they want to be, not because they feel obligated to which is what it felt like a lot of times at my university.
Many of the students that attend the Pacheco Community Center are married and have kids. In contrast, I came here because I was feeling lost and was looking for something to give me some insight on what I wanted to dedicate my life to. My experience at Pacheco so far has taught me that no plan is worth closing yourself off for. The class at Pacheco has taught me that you take out of your experience what you want; whether it’s practical like learning what types of plants grow well together or conceptual like letting go of the fear to ask questions.
I feel very fortunate that the community of the Pacheco Community Center has made me a part of their group and treat me like family.
Volunteer at the Pacheco Community Center