SVHC Member Update: Raffaella

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Valley Verde

Working at Valley Verde is all about creating strong relationships with people – especially women- who lives in traditionally under served communities and communities of color. In your tippi toes, they let you enter in their homes, giving not only some advice about their new vegetable garden, but also hopes in a better future.

Laura is one of the woman I met during my service. Her story tells us some of the most common challenges and difficulties that also other women of color faces everyday, but also reveals their strength and creative energy.

The little promising future in her home country, San Salvador, where the economy has never recovered despite the end of the civil war, pushed Laura to make a decision that would change her family’s destiny. In 2000, she moved to the U.S., to work and find a way to send money back home to her two children. Within a few years, Laura had saved enough money to reunite her family.

Although the American dream seemed within reach, after the economic crash in 2008, Laura lost her job and found herself forced to live in an overcrowded house of a depressed area of San Jose. Laura has shared her very difficult time with Valley Verde, including a deep depression.

But that changed when she attended a Valley Verde presentation at her daughter’s school. During the presentation, Laura learned about Valley Verde’s free gardening program. She was immediately intrigued and enthusiastic about this opportunity and signed up for it. Since that early spring day, Laura hasn’t stopped cleaning up her backyard, planting new seeds, seedlings and even flowers in every single corners of the house. Laura now has a garden for her family, and was very generous to host a raised bed for one of her neighbors and to hold some of the gardening workshops in her backyard.

The garden will help Laura’s family economically as they will not have to buy vegetables, but even more importantly it’s already helping Laura feel better and hopeful, more active and engaged in the new community that Valley Verde has help established.

Laura says, “I’m grateful to Valley Verde for providing, not only the materials to get me started with my garden, where my kids and I can connect and get closer after many years of separation, but also the knowledge, satisfaction, and joy that I find when working with the soil, and the plants.”