February Volunteers of the Month: Daniel Ramirez and Maria Amezcua

Photo by Monica Bena   vides

Photo by Monica Bena vides

You can find Daniel Ramirez,18, and Maria Amezcua, 17, at Veggielution in the chicken coop tending to the chickens on Saturday afternoons. Both Ramirez and Amezcua, local San Jose High students, found out about Veggielution Community Farm through their school’s Community Volunteering Guide. At first, the couple decided to complete their community service hours as required by their school at the farm back in September of 2013. Soon after volunteering at Veggielution they fell in love with the environment and have gone far beyond their school’s requirements.

When the two first started coming to the farm, they helped the farm crew with planting, watering, pruning, weeding, and peeling garlic. Soon Ramirez and Amezcua became interested in caring for the chickens. They have sinced adopted an abandoned bantam rooster, whom they named Junior. They explained that caring for Junior is a big responsibility; but, they both have been doing so here at the farm until Junior’s new home is ready at Ramirez’s brother-in-law’s property in Gilroy. They have also taken it upon themselves to care for the rest of the flock, weeding around the chicken coop, cleaning out the chicken manure, and refilling their water and food supply. Ramirez and Amezcua both hope to get and raise more chickens in the future.

They both really enjoying coming out the the farm. Being at Veggielution reminds them of the environment they grew up in in Mexico. Ramirez’s grandfather raised chickens, cows and horses. Coming to the United States at the ages of 10 and 11 years old was not easy for them, adapting to the new environment, learning English. Even though Ramirez and Amezcua have assimilated well over the last 7 years, and the farming lifestyle is different from many of their friends’ lifestyles, they do not want to lose their connection to their roots.

Ramirez and Amezcua’s families have been very supportive of their interests, and must be proud that they are both so caring and involved in the community. When speaking about volunteering about Veggielution, Amezcua explains that, “It’s a fun thing to do. It improves the community: teaching others what you know; buying veggies here; and being able to help… It’s fun and I like to do it.”  Ramirez reflects, “I’m really happy to be here to meet new people, make new friends. Plus I’m helping the community. The most important thing is that I’m doing what I like.”