Coming from prison, to be working with trees, to be honest with you: trees saved my life. I've seen the other side, and it was very rewarding to have the opportunity to work with the staff at the Delaware Center for Horticulture. The staff there gave me a new view not just on trees, but also on people... Now I can't let anyone do any destruction to trees. If I see children playing and pulling on trees, I go up to them and ask if they know what they're doing and what kind of tree that is. One day, I had about ten kids around me, and I explained how a good tree that bares good fruit is rewarding in different ways. I showed them the buds, and explained that trees are growing just like them. These kids came to play basketball and ended up talking about how even the Bible speaks about trees. I got my pruners in the car, and as I drive I'll stop on occasion and fix something that looks like it's in need of help, usually the ones that have been pulled on and/or broken. I also learned the extent of goodness in other people. TheDCH staff were really good to me. I never had this kind of experience outside my own culture. For a young man to be incarcerated for so long, and then for people to take the initiative to help me stay out, offered me a skill so that I can go to a landscaping company, and use the reference they gave me, really fills me with a sense of prideā€¦. Before [my experience with TheDCH] I didn't think much about trees. At first it was just a job to get out of the work center. Then it became something better. Now I look at trees from a different perspective. They're here for a reason. We've got to set an example for the kids. Let's not leave just dirt and destruction behind. We need to have people in the inner-city take pride in their neighborhood, and trees and grass and greenery gives our neighborhood a sense of pride.
— Jeffrey Berry
RTW Green Crew program graduate