Hope House staff and residents cultivate healing garden

Published 08/21/2012

Howard C., right, has been instrumental in cultivating this garden.

Outdoor project empowers individuals - provides refuge, self-esteem, and self-confidence

Milford, DE – August 21, 2012 – Those who have watched Hope House resident Howard C. tend to the garden outside the program at Fellowship Health Resources, Inc. (FHR) say that there is only one way to describe this project.

“It’s therapy at its best,” explains Assistant Director Tamika Hudson. The healing garden at Hope House is a brand new initiative of Studio 35, FHR’s diverse healing arts recovery program.

Hudson describes Howard as the “gentleman of the program.” She says that he enjoys finding tasks around the home to help out, while also finding personal refuge in nature.

“The staff members all talked about finding a way for Howard to feel like he was doing something even more special,” Hudson says. “That’s when Residential Assistant Linda Wessell volunteered to help Howard plant a garden. Associate Clinician Ellery Parker came in on his day off to till the ground and begin the process, and then Linda and Howard were off to work on the garden.”

Hudson says that she could not be more proud of the efforts and camaraderie of her staff. “It’s not every day that you find a staff who is so willing to work as a team to bring unity and joy to those we serve,” she says. “My staff is working hard to beautify the program and bring joy to our persons served. What more could you ask for?”

Associate Clinician Francis Gwanmesia, who also acts as the handyman of the program, contributed wires to the garden to hold up the tomato plants. Howard and staff members have planted tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, pumpkins, and green peppers in the garden.

“The best part of the garden for me personally is the pumpkins! In October, we’re planning to incorporate pumpkin painting as a therapeutic activity at the program,” Hudson explains. “How awesome is it that we can paint pumpkins that we grew right here on the property? It gives us all a sense of pride and ownership.”

As the garden continues to flourish, staff members watch residents gain a sense of pride, accomplishment, and confidence. “I feel really good about myself,” Howard shares. “I truly enjoy planting the seeds and watching it grow into food that we can all eat.”

With a few seeds and some extraordinary effort, the outdoors of Hope House has truly changed. It is an inspiring project for everyone involved. “I’m just glad to help out. Howard has shown so much enthusiasm throughout the project,” explains Wessell. “He lets me know that whenever I’m not working, I don’t have to worry about the garden. He waters it and takes good care of it.”

Most recently, Hope House residents enjoyed a squash dinner with vegetables grown from the Hope House garden. “We couldn’t be more pleased at the work and inspiration here at FHR,” says Hudson. “Howard is already talking about adding fruit to the garden for next year. To me, this is truly therapy at its best!”

For more information about this project and other activities at Hope House, please contact Tamika Hudson at 302-422-6699.