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CRESTWOOD, Mo. – For many adults, gardening is therapy. But a St. Louis therapist is using gardening to reach young boys who are dealing with issues.

Fox 2/News 11’s Dan Gray shows you why he is the recipient of our Pay It Forward award this month.

Psychotherapist Dr. Clayton Lessor of Crestwood focuses his practice on at-risk adolescent boys by teaching them empathy through gardening the fruits and vegetables are then donated to the Affton Christian Food Pantry; the executive director of the food pantry is about to surprise Dr. Lessor with our Pay It Forward award a $500 gift card from First Bank.

These are the vegetables and fruits of the labor of troubled teenage boys.

Dr. Lessor started the Quest Project 20 years ago and more than 2,000 boys have gone through the intense program.

“Absentee fatherism is a big deal right now and so all these boys have a very absent either physically emotionally our systemic absent father in their life so they’re not getting those teachings to become a healthy male in the world today,” said Dr. Clayton Lessor, Ph.D.

Every weekend through the summer, the boys work the charity patch behind Dr. Lessor’s office.

“Parents will respond and say they are doing better with their siblings a lot of times so I watch the relationships that go on in the garden too how they interact with each other how they’re more understanding,” Lessor said.

Tonight’s Pay It Forward is brought to you by First Bank. If you know of a deserving person you’d like to nominate for the award go to and look for the Pay It Forward page.