The sun shined bright last Friday, on Good Friday, as a group gathered at the corner of Appletree Street and South Broad Street, next to Jackson County Juvenile Court, in Scottsboro.

For most of the morning, members of the Jackson County recovery community, including Drug Court, Family Wellness Court and Jackson County Community Corrections, along with other members of the community, planted vegetables at the Garden of Hope.

Circuit Judge John Graham, whose Drug Court meets each Friday, regardless if it’s a holiday or not, said it’s a tradition to plant a garden on Good Friday.

“My job is to help y’all come up out of the ground,” Graham tells the group. “Some of us are buried so deep. It takes hard work, lots of prayer, direction and guidance to bloom and blossom.”

Garden of Hope, in existence for eight years now, was given its name because its purpose is to instill hope in the individuals working in the garden and to instill hope in the community members who eat from the garden.

It was a good day, a good morning as people spoke why they were there, which is more than just getting arrested and charged with a drug felony. One woman said her kids need a sober mom. A man says he wants a new life and new opportunity.

The man said his life was on a never-ending cycle when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. He’s been in drug court since February 2021.

“I’ve been clean since September 2020,” he adds. “My life has turned out a whole better since drug court. I will graduate in November. My wife is cancer free.”

Stephanie says she’s been in a custody battle for her daughter for years.

“I went through depression and started using marijuana and methamphetamine,” she said. “I hit a low point and lost hope with everything.”

Stephanie has been in drug court for a year now. The support and encouragement has turned her life around. She now has court order visitation with her daughter.

“I am very grateful,” she said, adding she has been clean for 15 months.

On Friday, tomatoes, flowers, peppers, squash, okra, turnip greens and lettuce was planted.

“A lot of folks have been involved,” Graham said.

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