Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”
At Amigos for Christ, we believe that our youngest community members have the potential to become future leaders in their community and set the example for generations to come. Jeffrey Padilla, a 12-year-old from the community of El Espabel, is one of those future leaders and is an inspiration to all.
This year, Amigos began offering a project called “huertos familiares” or “family gardens”. In this project, the families are given some basic materials and trained on agricultural practices so they can grow and harvest their own fruits and vegetables. This project was designed for the families in order to improve their nutrition, save a little money, and even have a chance to sell their produce to other members of their community.
Jeffrey’s aunt, Ivania, became a participant in the family garden project back in March and has worked hard to maintain a prosperous garden. However, every time we would meet to do a training or do follow-up visits to see her garden, little Jeffrey was always around, asking questions, and trying to learn more. A few weeks later, Jeffrey approached one of the members of the economic development team, asking her if she could take a look at the small vegetable garden he had started.
Jeffrey decided to take matters into his own hands, and he started his garden without a single material from Amigos. He began developing organic products to keep pests away and started participating in all the trainings that Amigos offered. He even invited a couple of his buddies to take part in a presentation about pest control and the application of organic products.
A few weeks later, Amigos surprised Jeffrey with a bundle of products to help expand his garden. Jeffrey received tomato, green pepper, and cucumber seeds; a planting tray; a watering can; organic insecticide/fertilizer; among other items. Jeffrey was beaming from ear to ear, so happy to have the chance to continue working hard to harvest fruits and vegetables for his family.
We are so inspired by Jeffrey because, despite his age, he is always eager to learn and takes full advantage of every opportunity that comes his way. With Jeffrey, we feel that there is a ripple effect in the community, inspiring his friends and classmates to step outside their comfort zones and take part in activities that are typically associated with adults. We hope that we will soon see even more kids with little gardens in their backyards as well. The future is bright for Jeffrey and the youth of Chinandega!