Jawonio’s Day Habilitation participants recently visited the Garden of Hope at Bon Secours’ Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Suffern, NY, to experience horticultural therapy with horticultural therapist, Anne Meore. Jawonio planted ‘seeds of hope’, and in doing so experienced the garden with a multi-sensory stimulating approach. A letter from Anne, on the blooming relationship between Jawonio and Bon Secours Charity Health System –
Vegetables, flowers & herbs aren’t all that’s growing in The Garden of Hope at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. As evidenced by the continued and increasing program participation from Jawonio of New City, it is obvious that relationships are also something that grows quite abundantly here too! As a therapeutic, accessible growing space, the Garden of Hope’s food production serves the food pantry of Suffern, NY, and also provides an opportunity for program participants to garden in a safe and meaningful way.
The Garden Ministry of Bon Secours Charity Health System (BSCHS) came to fruition as a vision of Rockland Co. Catholic Community Services and BSCHS. With the support of the Good Samaritan Foundation, the BSCHS Healthy Communities Grant and the generosity of a number of community groups, we have been able to provide a wide array of horticultural therapy and garden education programming for the hospital staff, patients, and our community members. It is the coming together of so many people, each with a gift to give, which makes our garden such a special space. It is true that we are nothing without those that give of themselves here. It is also true that we are something super special because of all that the people of Jawonio have blessed us with since 2012 & continue to bless us with today.
As each Jawonio participant steps into the garden and begins tending to its needs, be it the sowing of a tiny seed or the harvesting of a ripe tomato, watering tender seedlings or using a little extra effort to turn the soil, he or she becomes an integral part of the solution to alleviating hunger for our own neighbors. This special space serves as a “level playing field” of sorts, where neither ability nor disability matter; where only the love and care generously provided to what grows here matters; where we are given the opportunity to grow through our mistakes… “The perfection of imperfection.” And what a “perfect” place this is.
It is here, in the Garden of Hope, that we not only learn about a plant’s needs, but also about our own needs: air, water, food, sunshine and most importantly, a constant stream of TLC. Together, hand in hand, with the exemplary Jawonio staff, the talented hands and huge hearts of Jawonio program participants, we not only cultivate our garden, but more importantly, we cultivate our relationships with one another, enriching our lives and making us part of a healthier and happier community.
Anne Meore, MA, LMSW, HTR
Registered Horticultural Therapist
Garden Projects Coordinator