“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” 

John Muir

encouraging nature-centric healing for victims of violence

Did you know that spending time in nature is proven to reduce stress and help clear the mind?

“In the 19th century, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and recognized as the “Father of American Psychiatry,” was first to document the positive effect working in the garden had on individuals with mental illness. In the 1940s and 1950s, rehabilitative care of hospitalized war veterans significantly expanded acceptance of the practice. No longer limited to treating mental illness, horticultural therapy practice gained in credibility and was embraced for a much wider range of diagnoses and therapeutic options. Today, horticultural therapy is accepted as a beneficial and effective therapeutic modality. It is widely used within a broad range of rehabilitative, vocational, and community settings.” – American Horticultural Therapy Association

Scents, texture, color, and movement are some of the many features of a garden setting which can soothe or excite the mind. Our goal in creating Eli’s Garden of Healing is to create a space for people to interact with the garden to find relaxation or energy. To simmer for a while in thought & seek inner peace or to get hands dirty volunteering with us to maintain the garden.

“Gardening is the greatest tonic and therapy a human being can have. Even if you have only a tiny piece of earth, you can create something beautiful, which we all have a great need for. If we begin by respecting plants, it’s inevitable we’ll respect people.”

– Audrey Hepburn, late actress, and humanitarian.

The International Journal of Architectural Research classifies healing gardens into the following five categories:

  1. Healing
  2. Enabling
  3. Meditative
  4. Rehabilitative
  5. Restorative

Our hope in creating this garden, is that people can visit Eli’s Garden and find a way of healing that is right for them. Victims and survivors of violence have so much to process. As a group of people healing from the traumatic loss of 15-year old Elijah Gomez, our thoughts extend out to people who have any connection to the pain of recovering from violent, often life-changing, events. For us this garden was created because of gun violence, but we know the pain from violence can come from many sources. This healing garden is intended to be for everyone and offer a place to heal in a way that makes sense to you. Quiet reflection and active gardening each have their own healing properties.

We hope that as this space is created that the sights and scents bring contentment and an opportunity to reflect on memories.

For those who want to do some heavy lifting, light pruning, or weeding, volunteer opportunities are a great way to keep the hands busy, get a little dirty, and work out feelings that can commonly feel overwhelming while grieving. We will share more on ways to get involved as the project takes off.

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