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'Plant It Again' | San Diego teen giving plants and people a second chance

Plant It Again hires adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities to recycle plants.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. —
Plants need sunshine and water to thrive, but people need love. 

In this Zevely Zone, I visited a new non-profit store in Kearny Mesa opened by a teenager and her mother called Plant It Again. 

Teenager Olivia Kries is a native San Diegan. The High Tech High Mesa senior is a Girl Scout and Young Marine with a calling to serve the community. 

The 17-year-old had a light bulb moment when she spotted her mother Paige throwing away plant clippings.  

"That's a waste because they are expensive, they are drought tolerant and there is really a need for that type of plant in San Diego," said Olivia. She figured she could take a perfectly good plant and Plant It Again.

Credit: KFMB

Olivia's non-profit organization saves natural resources by recycling drought tolerant plants back into our local communities while creating fulfilling and exciting careers for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. 

While creating Plant It Again during the COVID-19 pandemic has proven challenging, Olivia is grateful for the silver linings she's discovered throughout her journey.

Credit: KFMB

Olivia doesn't want to give up on plants, but more importantly she doesn't want to give up on people. 

"That's true. She really helps because she gives meaningful employment to people with disabilities like me," said Martin Barken, who is getting paid to do something he loves along with co-worker Laurie Borders. 

"She is very nice, I like her," said Laurie. 

Together, they are growing plants and lives. The non-profit's goal is to Plant It Again and then Plant It Forward. 

Items that would have tossed into a landfill are repurposed as part of their 'Trash to Treasure' program. San Diegans can visit their store to buy the plants that will support people with disabilities.

Credit: Plant It Again

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"It makes me really happy, but it's all them none of it is me they are the ones putting their talents out there I am just happy to watch them grow but it's all them," said Olivia.  

Martin then added, "I love being here, it's the best employment I've ever had, and I would run through a brick wall for them."

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You are invited to join them build something special. With your support, they can give back to the community, beautify and help protect our neighborhoods, and create a safe and supportive environment for others to achieve their personal goals in the workplace. 

The store is located at 8855 Balboa Ave Suite A in Kearny Mesa. Plant It Again is open for business. For store hours and more information about the program click here.