Tim – A Place We All Love

May 11, 2022
Tim holding Shadow the cat in the Sunflower Hill Garden.

As spring winds down and we begin to anticipate summertime in the Sunflower Hill Garden, I’m always a little sad knowing that I’ll have to say goodbye to my adult-in-transition program participants, teachers, and staff for the summer. We’re grateful for the time and energy they invest in our Garden Program. This month, we’re honored to highlight Tim Freitas, a teacher who has been bringing his adult-in-transition students to the Sunflower Hill Garden for the past four years. Tim is retiring from teaching special education at Village High School in Pleasanton at the end of the school year.

Tim and a program participant standing in the Sunflower Hill Garden next to a wheelbarrow full of dirt.Tim, who has held various roles in education since 2001, doesn’t remember how he first heard of the Sunflower Hill Garden program, but is happy that he discovered it. “From the very beginning, I knew it was a very good program,” he said.

Over the years, Tim has brought many students to the Garden to learn about gardening and life skills. He feels that the education his students receive and the hands-on experience makes it a truly unique and “multi-dimensional” program. “One thing that is very important to me as a special education teacher is having an atmosphere where the students feel safe and accepted, and it’s OK to fail. You guys have that atmosphere,” he said.


Hear why Tim enjoys visiting the Sunflower Hill Garden


Tim with two program participants and a volunteer in the Sunflower Hill Garden, standing at the washing station with harvested rosemary.Tim shared that he especially likes the education-based mini-lessons at the “tree classroom” and that during garden walks, Sunflower Hill staff point out things that many people might miss, like the life stages of lady bugs and the praying mantis egg sacs tucked under the fence post of the boysenberry vines. Tim also mentioned the importance of the closing and snack segments of the program, noting that participants have an opportunity to share what they did and how they felt about it and experience eating the foods they help grow. “You guys have definitely put a lot of thought and care into (the program) and that has definitely benefited our students,” he said.

Tim and a program participant in the Sunflower Hill Garden.Tim feels that the Garden Program benefits all his students, regardless of their disability, by focusing on a participant-centered approach. He said that his students always love coming to the Garden and that he will miss them and the Sunflower Hill visits once he retires. “It’s a place we all love going,” he said.

Tim, we’ll miss you too. We thank you for your years of time and commitment to our Garden Program and wish you a very happy retirement!

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Story by: Molly Morse, Sunflower Hill Garden and Programs Instructor
Contributing Writer: Rachel Clark, Sunflower Hill Communications Manager

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