JOHN DAY - "It's a circle of power, where everyone gives and gets," said Randi Movich, program coordinator for the Her-os and He-ros club.
Five mentors and eight mentees attended a five-hour work party on May 12. They worked in the "Garden of Eatin'" which is sprouting a bounty of vegetables and fruits thanks to their involvement in the program.
Bright splashes of color will soon decorate the club area walls in the basement of the Families First building where they have a juice bar. The youth were also painting larger-than-life pictures which represent themselves. The ceiling depicts a light blue sky with clouds.
Star Martinez, 12 of John Day, was painting an outline of herself as a basketball player. She's been a part of the program for two years.
"She's a good basketball player," said Lindsey Kennedy of Canyon City, her mentor. "We've played one on one and she beats me every time."
Breanna Snow, 11, of John Day, has also been in the club for two years. She said that they had a vote on how to paint the club area. "It's fun to hang out," she said. They also get help with their homework in the computer room.
Eleven-year-old Tyler Gray of John Day, who was outside planting strawberries, said he likes the program because "it's fun and creative and, because you have a mentor, it gives you a chance to talk about your problems." His mentor is Brian Nelson.
4-Hers and Girl Scouts also have plots in the garden.
Daniel Cossey, 14, of John Day, said he likes the program because it gives him something to do on the weekends.
"It can open you up to new careers and opportunities," he said. His mentor, Mike Dress, has introduced him to welding.
As he dug around in the soil, Cossey mentioned that gardening was also something he hadn't tried before.
Movich said, "We're learning as we go."