Friday, April 15, 2011

Josie, the Gardener

by Lois Jamieson

Josie arrived at school wearing black baggy clothing. She had rings in her nose, lips, ears and heaven knows where else. Chains hung from her belt. Josie walked around with her long black hair covering half of her pretty face. Her eyes centered on the ground. Josie refused to follow the dress code.
I asked Jan, “How will Josie ever be successful and confident?”
Jan said, “Just sit back, wait and see.”
So -- I sat back and waited.
What I saw was almost beyond belief. In an amazingly short time, Josie began observing the dress code. After awhile, this lost withdrawn girl forgot to mumble when asked a question. Josie began to look into our eyes when she talked. A smile or two started to appear.
And then, a true miracle happened.
Josie discovered she had a talent for gardening. She took over the care and nurturing of the flower garden. What a treat it was to see Josie, in her wide brimmed gardening hat, bending over clumps of petunias and pansies. Josie not only cared for the flowers, she immersed herself in every gardening book I could lay my hands on.
Gardening opened up a whole new world to Josie.
Josie began welcoming and embracing other school activities. She visited and spoke before the State House of Representatives. Josie attended the Arizona State Governor’s Annual Mentoring Award Ceremony.
Josie graduated from the school with honors. We are extremely proud of Josie, a poised and confident young woman.
Look for more adventures of Josie in our upcoming book, “Kids Without Stuff.”