There’s no chestnuts roasting over an open fire or presents under the tree. In fact, San Luis Obispo County Honor Farm Participant Garrett Taylor can sum up what it’s like to be locked up during the holidays in one word.
“Painful. And not in a figurative what we make up in a our head which is painful but it was physically and emotionally was painful,” Taylor explains.
Taylor has been at the Honor Farm for the last 426 days after being convicted for vehicular manslaughter. Together he works alongside participant Christian Contreras in the Honor Farm’s bike shop.
Contreras is about to spend his first Christmas at the Farm.
“When Thanksgiving rolled around, it hit me harder than I thought so that kinda prepped me for Christmas [but] you know I do miss my family,” Contreras says.
Both men have been trying to make the most of their time at the alternative work program, even using their skills fixing bikes to help make holiday donations to local families.
“I can’t explain it any different than it truly warms a father’s heart and a man’s heart, to do something like that [and] to spend my time to give back to the community, especially to kids,” says Taylor.
This holiday season, Contreras says he doesn’t expect people to feel sorry for them but he would appreciate any extra warm thoughts people can give.
“You have to remember that we’re all apart of a grander thing, you know there’s a bigger picture here – and any moment and act of kindness goes a long way even if it’s just a thought or a gesture – it doesn’t go unnoticed,” he explains.
Participant Garrett Taylor is getting out of the farm this week; he hopes to eventually teach high school students about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Contreras has two months left and hopes to return to his career as a barber when he gets out.