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Weeder to Leader: Hien Vu’s Summer

Crew E
Crew E
 Hien Vu came to The Food Project looking for a summer job, and he left as a leader.

Hien, a 16-year-old Vietnamese boy from Roxbury, was not the sort of kid that you might peg as a go-getter. He was well intentioned and had a lot of potential. He also had a “too cool for school” attitude,

This summer, through hard, meaningful work in a supportive environment, Hien revealed a new side of his personality. He grew into a natural leader within his crew, keeping the group on track when friendly competition and games threatened to boil over. He began to express himself more, bringing in his family’s traditional foods to share with his peers.

By the end of the summer, he was stretching in ways no one expected. Hien gave a moving speech before a crowd of 200 at the end-of-summer Family Feast, explaining the ways in which his adult mentors at The Food Project came to serve as role models for him, in the absence of a consistent father figure.

The 2009 Summer Youth Program wrapped up last month, and we wish we had space to share the 96 unique personal journeys that, together, made up our summer. These inspiring teens shattered their harvest goals and had an unforgettable season of fun and growth, in the face of some seriously adverse growing conditions. Congratulations to each of them, and thanks to everyone who made SYP 2009 such a success!

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