It’s 2008. You’re just about to turn 14. Your neighbor tells you that you can make some money with a local nonprofit if you want to work outside and farm. What do you do? For Amanda Velazquez, this was an easy decision.
In the past 10 years, Amanda has held multiple positions within the REC from YouthGROW Staff to Assistant Farm Manager. She has seen the Bell Hill YouthGROW Farm from the beginning; she painted the first raised beds there. Today, she manages our farmers markets and helps process EBT payments to provide low-income communities with healthy, affordable food.
Amanda explained why she’s stayed involved all these years. “Even if it’s a temporary or part time position, I continue to help them grow and grow with them because I believe in their mission and it’s something I feel good about doing.”
She went on to say that the REC is the perfect “outlet to help grow and feed Worcester, and to do it in the communities that need it most, I don’t know, there’s just something unique and special to me about it.”
She went from building raised beds in her mother’s yard to bringing her daughter to farmers markets and other REC events. “This organization will always have a special place in my heart because, well, the REC raised me. It’s made me more environmentally mindful and has helped me build connections that I know will last a lifetime.”