January Volunteer of the Month: Joseph Tilahun


15-year-old Joseph Tilahun is a sophomore at Pioneer High. Thought he started volunteering at Veggielution to satisfy his volunteer hours requirement, Joseph has gone way past his initial requirements and has become one of our most consistent Saturday volunteers.

   Joseph has helped with everything from seeding to transplanting, to weeding and working in the greenhouse during our workdays. He often stays after lunch to help us clean up the cooling shed, packing shed, and other work spaces in preparation for the following week.

   “I like to learn new thing about working on a farm, and growing vegetables. I really like that through farming your creating a product that’s useful.” said Joseph.

   Joseph’s parents immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia in the 1980’s. His dad grew up as a farmer but had the opportunity to go to school, and eventually secured a position at an airport before moving to the United States. His mom grew up in the city of Addis Ababa, so she didn't have as strong of roots in farming.

  “Obviously it’s a lot harder to farm in Ethiopia, but I’m enjoying learning the basics of farming that can be applied anywhere. It’s really cool to connect with my family history in this way," said Tilahun.

    Joseph’s favorite subject is Math and he’s interested in studying Computer Science or Engineering once he gets to college. Pioneer High has a strong focus on service learning for their students. Awhile back Joseph’s English teacher proposed that each of his students choose a word for the year, sort of like a new year’s resolution. Joseph chose the word, “involve” because his experience volunteering at Veggielution has taught him the importance of being involved in the community outside of school

   Joseph hopes to keep volunteering over the summer, and the staff here hopes he will, since he’s such an incredible volunteer!