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September 20, 2012

Growing Potential

Growing Potential
Potential is something that Joe Hallowell loves. He loves the potential within the program at Jubilee, the ground, and ultimately most important the students. "We have some of the most talented kids out there. Our kids are undercover geniuses who people consider outcast, but the potential for the countries greatness is within these kids", says Joe when we spoke. "Through working in the garden I am able to see the greatness of these kids and working together to make the plants the best they can be. Their knowledge of how to help is mind blowing."

A lifelong resident of Walla Walla Joe earned a two-year auto technology degree and was married at 19. He later decided that the auto industry wasn't for him and worked a bunch of odd jobs including starting his own painting business for five years. While transitioning out of the painting business Joe attended school to become a horseshoer, and eventually transitioned away from painting to horseshoing full time. Joe specialized with being able to work with troubled horses. This painted an early picture of how he would come to relate with troubled kids in his word to "Take something where people don't see potential and help them to become great."

Joe and his family first heard about Jubilee through former staff Shawn and Jamie. Life was good for Joe but his spirit was just not being fed the way that he desired. He came out to and started to volunteer with the horses once a week. He says pretty soon that one-day became the highlight of his families week. Eventually volunteering transitioned into an opportunity to be at the Ranch full time, and Joe says has been a huge blessing in his life.

Joe's main passion at Jubilee has been the development the gardening program. He says, "The goal is sustainability, and self-sufficiency. Part of which is working with winter vegetables through a greenhouse and aquponics." Aquaponics is a process where vegetables are grown in greenhouse where the plants are grown in water, which contains fish. The fish feed on the plants while at the same time fertilizing them. This helps both the fish and the plants grow to a size where they can be harvested and feed groups of people. One interesting aspect of working with the students in this environment with the students has been their knowledge for herbonics from past endeavors has been a great asset to the project. "Some boys think their past life is a total waste, but they can learn ways to use past experience to help us and help to add value to their lives" says Joe "They realize while they were trying to waster their lives, God was preparing them." The goal of the garden is to show the students that with their hard work and creativity they are able to make a difference in the world and Joe is looking forward to taking this journey with them.

Growing Potential
Another positive of the gardening program is that the students are learning how to use the tools at their disposal to create the sustainability and self-sufficiency that Joe is trying to achieve. They raise alphapha to feed to horse that tills the ground for the garden. Joe smiled as he described how the boys are falling in love with the ploy horse Barry and the milk cow Carrabelle. "The students are falling in love with our horse because an animal cant hurt you emotionally, so the guys feel safe with him and are able to open up to falling in love with them." Along with plowing the fields with actual horse power the garden program is also helping with the self-sufficiency by heating the future greenhouse with a compost pile and using chickens to turn the compost.

With the garden program Joe hopes that with hard work the boys and himself will be able to show people how they can raise more food on less acreage and with less water use. By doing so they hope to show people how they can feed a village with a greenhouse and a small section of land, while at the same time Joe is hoping to grow inspiration, self worth, and a love for helping another within the boys that he works with. Joe hopes that while learning to help others these boys can also tap into their own creativity and passion and understand that they have something great to contribute to the world.

Contact Jubilee Leadership Academy

For more information about Jubilee Leadership Academy, please call 509-749-2103, or email us.