CANAAN, NY -- I came to Berkshire at the age of 15 and spent 13 months at Berkshire’s Residential Treatment Center. Like most kids in the program, I received individual and group counseling, substance abuse counseling, and was able to continue my education working towards a Regent’s Diploma. Although all of this was helpful and provided the structure I needed to get back on track, what caused the biggest impact on my life was my experience with the Horticulture Program. It provided something that was lacking in my life: structure.
As I developed a passion for plants, Woody, my boss, would let me bring plants home to my family. I would go home and spend most of my time educating my family on the different plants we were learning about. Berkshire exposed me to what would become my life’s passion.
The mistakes I made in my past often caused me to be labeled as a ‘bad kid’. People in the community were afraid of me, afraid of all of the kids like me on campus, and I don’t blame them for it. What took me time to realize is that I was NOT a “bad kid”. I was a good kid who made bad choices. There is a difference and Berkshire helped me see that.
I thank Berkshire for allowing me to change and grow. I was exposed to a new way of life and it helped me create a plan for my future. After leaving Berkshire, I set the bar high and I’m glad I did. Berkshire’s Horticulture Program has helped me become the man I am today. I now live a clean, drug-free lifestyle. I am a proud husband, father and active community member. I am a co-owner of Deep Roots Farm in Claverack, NY, where we grow organic micro-greens as well as vegetables and flowers. In the next few years, it is our goal to own our own land and expand our farming.
My life, my focus, and my goals have all changed for the better since my time at Berkshire. The Horticulture Program will always have a special place in my life. In the upcoming year, I will be partnering with Berkshire on agricultural projects that will include current residents, allowing them the chance to grow, - not only plants, but themselves and a future.