We know that mental health factors for youth include: Access to green spaces, physical activity, and interaction with others. This was why we relaunched La Gang du jardin Entr'Ados in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve area of Montreal. Three times a week, 15 youth and 2 interventionists get their hands dirty cultivating an urban garden together. Their harvest will be: shared with a neighbourhood homeless shelter, brought home to share with their family, and be sold at a local market. They will learn valuable skills, and be more resilient to the stress they are all facing.
Matthias (not his real name) has been a part of our programming for seven years! He had a very rough start to secondary school in 2019. Our after-school program ‘Entr’Ados’ became a lifeline for him. However, gardening didn’t interest him one bit. Then one of our volunteers, who is a photographer, gave him a special mission: become the photo/video journalist for our garden! It still took some convincing, but after a visit to the garden he agreed. This was a vivid reminder to us of the work motivating our youth that have been paralysed by Covid-19.