By Ryan Hill

WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A West Sacramento man is hoping he can plant a seed in the minds of at-risk youth to help stop them from going down the wrong path.

If you’ve driven down C Street heading to and from the I Street bridge in West Sacramento, you’ve probably seen Alfred Melbourne and others at Three Sisters Garden working the plot of land. But, it’s more than just planting crops.

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“We want to surround our kids with as many opportunities and positive role models as we can,” Melbourne said.

It’s helping and employing at-risk teens and young adults to stay off of the path that Melbourne, a founding board member of Three Sisters Garden, himself went down – and his work isn’t going unnoticed.

“Where a lot of his motivation comes from hurt and pain and seeing that his own story and in his community and wanting something better. He’s scraping away every day for it,” said Kelsey Brewer, another founding board member.

“In between jobs, once I was released from prison, just kind of bouncing around and not feeling fulfilled in what I was doing,” Melbourne said. “For me, it was like therapy. It was for something for me to just really throw myself into completely.”

Someone who threw themself into the garden is Miguel Lopez.

“Once I came to the garden, he gave me something to do,” said Lopez, who is now a youth ambassador for the garden. “I didn’t have to be out on the streets getting into trouble.”

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For him, the garden is leading him to greener pastures in life.

“Just got to do it, man. Otherwise, you can end up locked up or dead,” Lopez said. “I know people who are locked up and that’s because they weren’t doing nothing good.”

Doing something good is only becoming more difficult during the pandemic.

“It just seemed like it was one thing after another after another, having to send our youth home, calling off volunteers,” Melbourne said.

The pandemic has forced non-profits like this one to dig deep to rediscover their roots and keep growing during these trying times.

“And the only way these things do exist is by people, you know, who want to want to support these things, who have the means to support it, to engage that,” Brewer said.

Melbourne now wants to build more gardens throughout the community.

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“It’s just been hope,” he said. “Hope to continue to see ourselves in our community and do really good things.”