Jan 23, 2013-- "This place is about transformation. The students learn that if you can transform this environment, you can transform your life, yourself. We try to use the program at the gardens to help people build self-esteem," says James Jiler, who runs the GreenHouse program at Rikers Island in New York. Though a prison that holds nearly 16,000 short-term detainees is an unlikely site for a garden, the men and women on this island have been transforming it into an urban oasis. "Eight years ago only overgrown weeds covered the two acres that now make up the Rikers Island gardens. [Now,] herb gardens flourished behind a greenhouse where orchids grew. A gazebo sat in a grassy area, overlooking a small waterfall and pond." As the landscape changes, so too have the minds and hearts of the detainees. (5564 reads)
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