What do our staff members do with their weekends? There are those who like to hike and camp, while others prefer wetter endeavors like kayaking and fishing. Some staff members, however, like to get their hands dirty.
That was the case on May 8, when Jack Byrne, a service coordinator in Children’s Mental Health, and Jill Lucey, lead service coordinator in Senior & Disability Services, worked to prepare garden beds at The Commons Garden near Tongass Federal Credit Union. The beds are part of the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition’s community garden program.
CMH plans to encourage its clients to put time in working on the garden bed each week, according to Cyrus Daniell, a CMH service coordinator.
“We plan on having clients participate weekly as a way to learn how to engage in community projects and earn volunteer hours for the kids that need them,” he said. “We plan to regularly schedule times weekly for clients to work in the garden. We plan on planting all edible plants.”
While CMH hasn’t yet decided what to plant, the department will purchase seeds and starter plants – and schedule a time to plant – within the next week, Cyrus added.
The SDS department’s participation in the community garden came at the request of a client who enjoys working with plants, according to Jill.
“The goal is to teach gardening, self-help, and social skills, and to increase community participation in activities outside of our organization,” she said, adding that the end goal is to celebrate with a salad made of garden-grown vegetables at the end of the growing season.
While the CMH bed will be located in The Commons Garden, SDS will have two beds installed at the Rendezvous Garden next to Rendezvous Senior Day Services. The beds in that location will be ADA-compliant and more accessible to the individuals we serve, according to Jill.
Thank you to the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition for organizing the community garden program, and to Tongass FCU and Rendezvous for providing safe and accessible locations for the garden beds!