August Hoffman

Daily Point of Light # 3779 Jul 29, 2008

Dr. Hoffman is a psychology professor at El Camino College-Compton Center in Compton, CA. In addition to his teaching position, he is a pillar of strength and service at the college. Dr. Hoffman began a gardening program on the campus in the year 2000, when, as an avid gardener, he noticed that there were few flowers to brighten the student and faculty's day. With his own money, he purchased a few flats of colorful flowers and planted them on the campus. Within months, the program became a source of inspiration and light on an otherwise blighted campus.

As an academic, Dr. Hoffman observed the psychological benefits of outdoor gardening work; the physical labor, calming effect and collaboration with fellow students all seemed to increase students' self-esteem and motivation to succeed. In 2003, Dr. Hoffman initiated his first research on the positive effects of gardening work in an academic setting. From that point, he has spent literally thousands of hours investigating the wondrous results of gardening. His research suggests that those who are involved in the gardening program have increased academic retention and transfer to four-year universities, higher grade point averages, and a higher overall sense of motivation and well-being. Most important of all, the students involved in this program (most of whom are African American, Latino and Caucasian) unite and work cooperatively with decreases in racial tension and ethnocentrism during and after their gardening work.