Each week, we ask the Community Food Leaders of the Youth Community Agriculture Program to reflect on the week’s theme. This week, we asked them: “Describe a time or in your life in which you have shown initiative or taken charge in a situation that needed leadership. What was the result of the initiative taken? Did it allow you to grow as a person? What did you learn from that experience?”

Read below for responses from Marissa “Mango” and Christian “Broccoli.”

“One time that I took initiative was to help somebody on Shelbyville Road. My mom and I were driving and saw papers flying in the wind and they looked like important papers. Luckily we had gloves, so I helped gather them with my mom. There were all these other folks driving over them and kept cursing at my mom and I, people were even calling the police on us because we had our car hazard lights on. We were able to find a number on the papers to call. The owner of the papers said that he was out of town in Florida. There was a tote full and a box full of papers everywhere on Shelbyville Road but he said I have a tab open for you guys at his deli he owned. The deli was called “The Block Gourmet Deli.” He was wonderful and very nice and treated us so well.” – Marissa “Mango”

“So my mother recently had a stroke in September of 2020. I think I’ve shown initiative by helping take care of her when she came home from the hospital. Instead of getting home healthcare, my sister and I took care of her daily needs. Making sure her meds were in order, showering, and food. We had to take initiative so that she could get better. We are still taking initiative. I think it shows leadership, even if there is not an audience. I have absolutely grown as a person being more responsible, being a leader, and with accountability. I learned in this situation that you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped.” -Christian “Broccoli”