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ABOVE: Taziki’s owner Keith Richards, pictured center in the blue shirt, visited with Vincent Middle/High students participating in the HOPE project. Pictured, Eric Overton, Jennifer Moon, Josh Thomas, Cindy Vinson, Courtney Walker, Arianna Lott, Josh Chapman, Paul David Houston, Keith Richards, Amy Richards Mikayla Kelley, Tina Littlefield and Eli Harris. RIGHT: Eli Harris, Rand Brasher and Courtney Walker show off paychecks they earned through the HOPE project.

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“The earlier we start, the better. It’s all for their future.”

November, we started the project,” Vinson says. The possibilities for this garden were clear for Richards, who knew this project could be a unique opportunity for the students to not only make money, but to develop their skill sets. “When Cindy told me they had some plants, I told her we could make this bigger,” Richards recalls. He suggested the students expand the garden, sell the herbs to Taziki’s and start a business. So, Richards and his wife, Amy, removed the shrubs from in front of the school, tilled the ground and got the area ready for the students to start planting. “I was going to get fresh herbs,” Richards explains. “Now, I know where they’re coming from – they’re coming from Vincent Middle/High School.

That’s pretty cool.” The students are responsible for every aspect of this project, from maintaining the garden to measuring and bagging the herbs. After they finish their regular classes each day, they head outside — Jennifer Moon to work in the garden for a few hours. “They learn from repetitive work,” Vinson says. “They learn what the herb is, how it smells, its texture and the different types of food they can use it in.” They grow cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano and rosemary, and Richards pays them market value for the herbs. During the school year, the money goes toward HOPE’s account for the students’ field trips, classroom supplies or anything else they might need. When school is out for the summer, students

Shelby Living May 2014  
Shelby Living May 2014