At the end of a rainy-turned-sunny day, two young women are packing up at the Green Visions gardens on Rochester’s northwest side before planning to walk to their nearby homes. Tiani Jennings, 20, has already won another job with her Green Visions credentials. Tamyha Jones, 18, is hoping the certifications she has earned by working with Green Visions will help her secure a better-paying job the next time she looks for painting work.

Jennings is in her third year of working with the April-to-October job training program and she’s now an assistant site manager. Jones (pictured above) used to volunteer at the Smith Street site when her older sister worked for Green Visions. This year is her first year as an actual employee at the garden, where she plants, weeds and waters flowers, and makes bouquets.

Morgan Barry, the site manager who oversees the program for Greentopia, said Green Visions currently has 13 employees who each work up to 20 hours a week. Many of them also juggle a second job, school, or classes to earn their General Education Diploma. Besides working the gardens in the JOSANA Neighborhood, the Green Visions employees sell bouquets from the site and at the Rochester City Public Market on Saturdays. Flowers are also for sale through the Greentopia web site. The flowers serve multiple purposes as they:
• Provide income in a neighborhood with few jobs
• Provide 22 weeks (at least twice as long as summer programs) of job training during the growing season
• Make the soil healthier
• Beautify the neighborhood
• Create community engagement.

Jennings said she is planning to move into the home health care field, but she’s earned marketable skills and support by working with Green Visions. “This job has helped me from the very, very first day,” she said. “I’m 20, I’m very young, but I have management experience, I have a great resume. And, Morgan is always in my corner. I know I can count on him if I need him.”

And Greentopia is in this neighborhood’s corner, too.