New Vitae Wellness and Recovery: Gardening and Its BenefitsMay 15, 2019
Gardening has many benefits that include supporting mental and physical health in recovery. New Vitae Wellness and Recovery is proud to offer residents opportunities to garden throughout the organization.
The residents at the Philadelphia South site have been involved in a gardening group for several months, beginning with planning back in late March of 2019. Group members made a list of supplies and plants they wanted to see growing in their garden. They also prepared several questions they would want to know about gardening and took a trip to a local community garden and garden center called Greensgrow in West Philadelphia. In addition to learning more about the value associated with urban gardening, residents were able to ask their questions regarding various plants and shrubbery. Group members were able to learn the type of soil needed as well as which plants can be easily maintained in the garden. The residents chose to plant tomatoes, peppers, green beans, basil and squash.
Residents further north are also enjoying the benefits of gardening. Quakertown House and Pathways residents have been working on a community garden for the past several years. For 2019, long-term and newer residents have been working on growing a variety of produce. Throughout the summer months, as the garden ripens, residents and staff will assist with using the fresh vegetables in a variety of recipes. The garden has grown so much that residents can even choose to complete their prevocational work hours in the garden.
Mount Trexler Manor residents and staff have also been working outdoors. A group of residents have been spending time learning plant care skills and enjoying the warmer weather by assisting with landscaping needs. In this way, some residents have learned more about light, soil, and watering needs for a variety of different types of plants. Again, some residents have elected to make this work their prevocational job for the options, opportunities, and activities associated with these tasks.
As the plants have grown and developed over these past several weeks, staff has noted growth in New Vitae’s residents. Gardening has provided opportunities for leadership and responsibility. Some residents have taken initiative to visit the garden and water the plants or complete weeding activities. Gardening has also encouraged socialization among the residents, resulting in working together and promoting social connections. Gardening has also been helpful in affirming adaptive thoughts about capability and energy within our residents.
The New Vitae Wellness and Recovery gardens have increased motivation and purpose as well as joy. Thank you to everyone for your help with our gardens and plants!
"As a staff member, I have learned a lot about mental health and I have witnessed many residents transform from a place of fear and paranoia to becoming outgoing, secure, content and able to hold a job in the community and much more.”- Cathy K. (staff)