“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

healing garden


Site selection
We are thrilled to have approval from the Town of Hamden to use Denicola Park for Eli’s Garden of Healing. This site includes a WWII rifle test firing range once owned by gun manufacturer, Winchester Repeating Arms, which will be transformed into a healing garden for survivors of violence. The estimated cost of the product is ~1.5M.

Partnering with local organizations
From the schools and Town of Hamden, to local non-profits and violence intervention organizations, we plan to establish meaningful relationships with many local stakeholders who will benefit from the garden and also help us ensure it has longevity. Building and maintaining those relationships will be an important way to ensure that the garden is used to its maximum potential.

Building a strong Board of Directors to manage the park
Eli’s Garden of Healing is co-founded by Crystal Cathcart and Kyle Zukauskas, Elijah’s Aunt and Uncle. Together with a network of strong community leaders we are working to build a strong Board who will work together to bring our mission forward.

Garden Design
We have officially partnered with Hamden resident and award winning Architect Marissa Mead as the Lead Architect to partner with us on intentionally designing the healing garden and sculptural elements of the garden. Stay tuned as we announce opportunities for community feedback to inform our garden design plans.

Fundraising for the park will be critical. We did not anticipate we would lose Elijah less than a week after his 15th birthday. As a result, we will establish a budget for the construction and ongoing maintenance of the park and then develop a strategic plan to ensure it is appropriately funded. These funds will come from private donations from the community, in addition to grants and other sources. Donations can be made today on the “support eli’s garden of healing” page.

Creating material and plant wish lists for donations
As the garden design is finalized, we will have a clear need for construction materials, seeds/plants, machinery, and volunteer talent-types. We will be sharing wish lists for donations with the public as the materials we will need are known.

meet our lead architect: marissa dionne mead

Marissa Dionne Mead has been selected as the Lead Architect to help design and construct Eli’s Garden of Healing. Marissa brings a wealth of passion and expertise to our mission. As the Lead Architect for the New Haven Botanical Garden of Healing Dedicated to Victims of Gun Violence, she has expertise working on deeply personal projects intentionally designed to deliver healing to our communities. In addition, Marissa is actively engaged in a project in Meriden which will include a sensory garden and…

Keep reading

Eli’s Garden of Healing: In honor of a life taken from us too soon; designed for anyone suffering from violence.