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Local garden brings the community together

CALIPATRIA,Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - One non-profit in Imperial County created a community garden as a way to bring the community together in a safe way.
Best Step Forward is a non-profit in Imperial County dedicated to helping children with special needs. They noticed with e-learning children were stuck in front of a computer screen all day and that is when they got the idea for a community garden.

The idea was immediately supported by the city of Calipatria and they were given the resources to start the garden.

“It is important to make sure everyone gets some food, especially if it’s healthy food umm so that is what we are trying to promote accessible food to get if they’re just walking by," added Jackie Estrada Riddell, Founder.

This project took almost a year to complete but now the children are enjoying the fruits of their labor.

“Tomatoes I’ve always wanted to grow tomatoes and now seeing them I’m feeling kind of happy,” said Killian Riddell.

For Killian coming out to the garden has become a daily activity something he describes as an escape from the pandemic. “It helps me socialize with people more and hanging out since this pandemic happened.”

The garden has attracted dozens of visitors weekly and Best Step Forward hopes this garden is the first of many in Imperial County.

Gianella Ghiglino

Peruvian-born and LA raised Gianella Ghiglino joins the team from the San Fernando valley. “LA is the place that taught me how to breath and Peru is my breath.” She says she was inspired by the community she grew up in and began documenting her experience through poetry at the age of 7. “I wrote about everything I saw, felt and everything that inspired me.” When she entered High School she joined her school news station and realized that broadcast journalism allowed her to pursue her passion and her purpose all at once. Gianella attended Cal State Northridge and received a Bachelors degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish Broadcast Journalism, and Political Science. She did several internships while in College but most notably interned for PBS’s local LA station for three years. “My purpose is to share my story and of those in my community, my passion is writing.”

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