Students from Carey Business School visited Farming 4 Hunger, which is a non-profit organization working toward food growing and distribution, workforce development with individuals previously incarcerated, and addiction initiatives in the Southern Maryland community.
I have three key takeaways from this experience:
- Everyone Deserves a Second Chance
It is never too late to learn from your mistakes, get up and start working on yourself. I learned that circumstances can play a huge role in influencing one’s actions.
Standing in front of a wall at the farm called the “Wall of Second Chances,” I saw photographs of individuals who had the courage not to give in to circumstances and work towards transforming their lives. These ex-inmates got enrolled in the Farming 4 Hunger program and diligently worked on the farm to build a better future not only for themselves but also for their community.
While interviewing some of the workers at Farming 4 Hunger, I realized that they are not only involved in the farming initiatives, but some of these people also led programs for young adults to educate them on drug-related issues. They visit neighborhoods and schools to educate students through personal experiences and mentorship programs.
- There is Strength in Unity
Most of the ex-inmates said that what kept them going and motivated them was a sense of belonging. The team at Farming 4 Hunger is a family. They support each other, look out for each other, believe in each other and welcome all those in need of help.
Working toward the goal of building a better community as a team, and building strength in unity is undoubtedly a major factor contributing to the success of the organization.
- The Importance of Experiential Learning
Listening to someone talk about an initiative is very different from being a part of the day-to-day functioning of an organization and to understand its history, values, and mission.
As an international graduate student, I really appreciate the opportunity for community engagement.
I had been working with NGOs in the fields of education and women empowerment back in India, but this was the first time I witnessed incarceration and addiction so closely. It was both an inspiring and transformative experience for me.
Throughout the day, we did some great team building exercises, each of which had a greater lesson. I heard personal stories of battles with addiction and incarceration and learned about the overlap between business and community. I also worked in groups with other students to develop solutions and further opportunities to improve the organization.
I’m grateful to Carey Business School, OutGrowth, and Farming 4 Hunger for giving me the chance to learn about Business with Humanity in Mind (Carey’s mission).
It was a day well spent at Farming 4 Hunger redefining business, community, and social impact through experiential learning.
*This article was originally published on Sprouting Forward, OutGrowth’s official blog.