Alice's Open Road

ALICE CARUTHERS

Executive Director
Alemany Farm

“It wasn’t for me to get my life together to move on. It was to get my life together to come back to my community to help. To teach them something and put them on the right track.”

INTERESTS:

Environment & Nature Non-Profit Organizations

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Choices Community Self-Reflection Fear Individualism Inspiration Support & Encouragement Culture

TAGS:

carpentry, casket, death, drugs, following, funeral, giving back, guns, helping, jail, mental block, mentor, mindset, money, motorcycle, prayer, putting yourself first, robbery, school, trouble

BIOGRAPHY:

As a motorcycle-riding funeral escort, Alice Caruthers was starting to see that the caskets she was shepherding to the cemetery in her hometown were getting smaller and smaller. That realization is what drove her to begin efforts to keep kids off the streets and away from gang violence in her South San Francisco neighborhood. “As long as they’re still standing on their two feet, they have a chance in life,” she says. One way to help make that happen was to turn the open hillside next to the housing projects where she’d grown up from a dumping ground into an urban farm with programs for kids and adults in the community. Alice had never gone so far as to get involved in gangs herself, but she did take a turn into peddling drugs for a brief period. In school, she had become adept at working with her hands, and she was able to sell the wood pieces she built. But some family members told her that she could make more money selling drugs, so she did that for a while instead. Eventually, she says, she realized that that extra money she made wasn’t anything but bad news; it would only bring jail or death, and those weren’t good odds. When she got her life back together, she thought she’d take up carpentry and get away. But when it came down to it, she couldn’t leave her community. “It was like a little message was saying, ‘Nah, you got your life together, true enough, but it’s still not about you,’” she says. “People get their life together, they leave their whole community and and want to do something different. They’re running; they’re getting away because this is where they got caught up. It wasn’t for me to get my life together to move on; to start having an office down here building big buildings and making all this money for me. It was for me to get my life together to come back to my community to help. To teach them something and put them on the right track.”

Send us your feedback

(all fields are required)