After several years of disuse, NW Works’ Gardening Program is back in action! Thanks to our generous donors and our stellar volunteers, ten raised garden beds were prepared during National Volunteer Week.
Above, images of volunteers from First Bank and Shenandoah University, as well as a client and his mother spent several hours pulling weeks and laying fresh soil in the beds, despite cold weather and a touch of rain. With warmer weather finally here, our clients will be able to plant a variety of flowers and vegetables in the beds.
As we continue to move through the novel coronavirus pandemic, NW Works staff has been thinking critically about the safety of all activities happening on and off of our Shawnee Drive campus. Even as vaccine roll-out expands, it is critical to ensure that our clients and staff are able to remain socially distanced while on-site. Outdoor activities like gardening provide ample space and fresh air while also working toward clients’ individual therapeutic goals.
Clients at NW Works strive to make progress toward individualized goals, which is carefully documented and reviewed by staff. Goals might include developing personal interests, improving health and wellness, or goals centered around employment, such learning skills for a specific career field. By participating in the Gardening Program, clients can work toward their goals while staying safe outdoors.
In addition, the Gardening Program lends itself to other programming aspects of NW Works’ Day Support Services. It is our hope that produce grown in the gardens will be used in on-site cooking classes, helping clients learn to make healthy meals. Eventually, we hope enough produce will be grown to allow clients to sell the produce at local farmers markets, which provides additional opportunities for clients to build career skills. Both avenues will help clients to develop the skills needed for independence.
We are always seeking new volunteers to help out with our Gardening Program or other therapeutic programs! If you are interested in getting involved, contact Crystal LeMieux at firstname.lastname@example.org. No green thumb required!