[ Verbinnen’s Nursery
Dundas, Ontario ]

Patsy Pillay, Passport Mentoring Coordinator, Community Living Ontario: Passport Mentoring is a way for students with intellectual disabilities to connect with professionals in the community that they could tap into after they finish high school.

Alex — he has a history of delving into different types of species of plants and growing them, so it helped me focus my search for a mentor.

When Adrien and I met, we started talking and immediately I could see how passionate he was, so I knew he would be the right choice.

Adrien Gallant, Mentor — horticulturist: Well Alex brought a textbook with him at our very first meeting, and it was actually a textbook I had had in second year university – so I recognized the book.

I try to have a lesson to expand Alex’s knowledge of horticultural science. And, just simple — it might be one week on PH, or a different aspect of plant growth, propagation or pruning.

He definitely has a passion for plants, and he’s a very observant person. He’ll notice things that most of us would not.

Alex Warner, Mentee: He’s helped me explore some of the different fields that there are, and pushed me higher. So, he’s sort of been like a lever.

So I want to go into Niagara College. I want to go into their horticulture program.

It’s been a great experience for me. It’s worked out extremely well and I don’t think I’d be as far as I am now if I hadn’t become a part of it.

This experience is almost life changing, because it’s so powerful the effect that you could have on a young individual.

You know, how to make a difference in someone’s life that could set them off into a path that’s so enjoyable and so enriching.