Due to the sudden onset of the new realities of the pandemic, our residential treatment program has found new obstacles in providing our women with essential services. The need for social distancing and isolation has caused an increase in the amount of stress in their day to day. This has also made it more challenging for clients to support each other in recovery which is a major part of sobriety. Like every business, we’ve had to pivot our service structure to keep our women safe while focusing on recovery. Bringing our women outside gives them a safer way to build community and grow bonds. However, Stonehouse faced the challenge of having limited functional outside space. Through our generous partners and our willingness to adapt, earlier this year we received a grant that allowed us to install a gardening space where our women can do group sessions, walk, and relax.
This community garden will be a therapeutic, healthy, and relatively COVID-19 safe outlet that will strengthen the social bonds of the women at Stonehouse. This garden will bring the women together to unify and work as a team to grow the garden simultaneously with their commitment to recovery. This garden will become a physical representation of the beautiful work each one of these women is putting into their own recovery and enriching the lives of those around them.
We are planning to engage our women in a 12-week nutritional program to teach clients how to prepare healthy food to supplement the women growing food in the garden. Staff will educate our clientele on how a garden contributes to a healthy lifestyle reducing stress, being active, and finding self-sufficiency. Finally, the garden will help financially to support the food operations and cut back some food costs.
We have received the grant and started to build the community garden and it’s expected to be finished by end of 2021. We have recently set up a she-shed that will be used for storage, hobbies, or for workshop sessions. We can’t wait to share more updates on this project in the near future.