Westwick House residents plant ideas for Studio 35

Published 06/18/2012

Gardening project initiates ongoing Studio 35 plans in Rhode Island

West Warwick, RI – June 18, 2012 – Digging space, preparing soil, and planting seeds is only the beginning of a brand new program at Fellowship Health Resources, Inc. (FHR). As part of Studio 35, FHR’s diverse healing arts recovery program, the warm weather has allowed for the official start to a beautification project at Westwick House.

Westwick House resident James says that the garden has been a great addition to the home.

During the spring and summer months, residents will be responsible for maintaining the front, back, and side yard garden beds. In the winter, the project will head indoors for some creative activities to make the residence feel more like home. As the gardening project begins, staff members hope that this project teaches participants values beyond basic landscaping techniques. Patience and commitment are two values necessary to maintain a garden, according to RI Studio 35 Coordinator Donna Pilkington.

Staff and residents helped plant a variety of flowers and vegetables. “They planted tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, basil, spinach, swiss chard, onions, fennel, eggplant, beans, carrots, peppers, broccoli, parsley, and cilantro,” says RI Practice Manager Heather Spunzo. “They even started a pumpkin patch and planted some squash as well.”

Since the initial sod cutting, rototilling, and planting, residents continue to water the seeds and take care of the beds. “As part of Studio 35, this project can be very therapeutic,” says FHR President/CEO Joe Dziobek. “The act of gardening itself is a therapeutic release, and it allows participants to claim ownership and responsibility.”

“We are using the physical building and grounds at Westwick House as a means to give residents here something that they can claim ownership of and control over,” explains Westwick House Director Ben Weiner.

“I like having the garden here because it gives me a chance to go outside and work. Otherwise, I would be inside and not active,” says James, a resident of Westwick House. Pilkington says that so far, one plant has a small pepper, carrot seeds have sprouted, the tomato plants are growing, and flowers have bloomed.

Both staff and persons served look forward to the progression of the Westwick House beautification project. For more information about Studio 35 in Rhode Island, please contact Donna Pilkington at 401-721-5910.