Rediscovering community: Interethnic relationships and community gardening

Main Article Content

August John Hoffman
Julie Wallach
Eduardo Sanchez


Community service work, volunteerism and mentoring have recently become popular topics of research as effective methods in improving self-esteem and civic responsibility. In the current study we explored the relationship between participation in a community service gardening program and ethnocentrism. We hypothesised that an inverse correlation would emerge where students who participated in a community service-gardening program would increase their perceptions of the importance of community service work and decrease their scores in ethnocentrism. Results of the paired samples t-test strongly support the hypothesis that community service gardening work significantly reduces reports of ethnocentrism: t(10) = -2.52, (p < .03) for community college students. The ramifications of the study and ramifications for future research are offered.

Article Details

Practice-based articles (Non-refereed)
Author Biography

August John Hoffman, Metropolitan State University

August John Hoffman is currently a professor of psychology at Metropolitan State University. He earned his B.A. from UC Santa Barbara, M.A. from Radford University in Clinical Psychology (with an emphasis in Sport Psychology), and Ph.D. from UCLA in educational psychology. As a professor of psychology at Compton College, CSU Northridge, and Pepperdine University, he has assisted students from various backgrounds in accomplishing their goals. He began and developed a highly successful gardening program at Compton College in an effort to help students improve their campus and community. Current research interests include community service work and student mentoring as effective methods to reduce ethnic conflict and improve self-efficacy among community college students. For the last five years Dr. Hoffman has conducted research on the Compton campus with outdoor gardening work with community college students and CSUN mentors, and the results have been very positive. We have seen significant increases in the transition to higher education directly as a result of our community service and gardening work. Additionally, Dr. Hoffman has taught several psychology courses including Motivation and Sport Psychology, which include an applied approach to creating healthy lifestyles for his students. He has published several books and academic research articles, including the texts, Positive Psychology: An Applied Approach; Understanding Sport Psychology and Human Behavior; and, 29,051 Ways to Survive the College Experience. He enjoys gardening in his time off with his family – Nancy his wife, and two children A.J. and Sara.