Allie had the opportunity to ask some of the very hard-working agency staff a few questions! We chose to highlight three agency staff, Beth and Dan from Recovery Acres. And Mike from Inner-City Rec and Wellness. All of these staff members have been involved with Lady Flower Gardens for a significant period of time and have shown tremendous dedication towards the gardeners and LFG.
Where do you work and what do you? Beth: I work at Recovery Acres and I’m the community transition and housing coordinator. So, I run our sober living programs. One is called Robson house which is for men and Althea house is for women. I also do the after-care program at Recovery Acres, which is the men’s residential treatment centre. Dan: I work for Recovery Acres Society, and I am the after-care housing manager. How long have you been involved with Lady Flower Gardens? Beth: This is our 3rd year now I believe. Dan: This is my 3rd year. Time flies when you’re having fun! Do you think that the programing we do here is important? Why? Beth: I absolutely do. It has been incredible to see our clients that are broken, and lost come out here and feel so connected to people and nature and to just watch them give back to the community. As well as to see them smile and grow. It’s been absolutely incredible. Dan: of course. Look at the smiles and laughter that are going on here! People in addictions don’t generally get that, so it’s really good to see. What do you think your clients/the gardeners you bring here get out of this programming? Beth: Community, connection. They feel valued. They are giving back. They are giving back to the food bank as well as to themselves and they feel appreciated. They are able to help out Lady Flower Gardens as well, they get so much out of it. The big important pieces are connection and community. Dan: Peace, relaxation, comradery, something to look forward to during the week. They all ask throughout the week if we are coming up to the garden. It’s just so good to see the girls and guys laughing together and just having fun. What do you get out of this program? Beth: I also get connection and community. The first time we ever came out here it just felt like home. This place is such a safe sanctuary and to be able to see all our clients come out that aren’t really open or used to people come here and really open up and laugh and work together is just a beautiful experience. Dan: I get to see my clients that have been battling their demons for how many years come out and have fun and relax and enjoy themselves. Plus, I used to own an acre so this is just like coming home for me!
Where do you work and what do you do? I work at Boyle Street Community Services and Bissel Centre, and I am the program facilitator for the inner-city recreation and wellness program. How long have you been involved with Lady Flower Gardens? About 5 years. Do you think the programming we do here is important? Why? Very important. The people that I work with often don’t have a chance to get out of the city limits and often don’t have a chance to experience life outside of the inner city very often because they have barriers to accessing services outside of the inner city. So, the ability to bring people that maybe have never been to a garden in years or since they were children to this place is just amazing. But that’s just the beginning, there are multitudes of reasons as to why this place is important. Whether it’s on a personal level for the people that come out to the garden or on a communal level for them to understand the relationship between the land and things like the food bank and community centres. Also, for them to feel engaged and involved in something that is good for the community. Some people in the inner city don’t have those opportunities very often so it’s extremely important that a place like this offers that. What do you think your clients/the gardeners you bring here get out of this programming? I really think that each gardener has a very personal experience when they come here and each one would get something different out of this program. Generally speaking, there’s the usual fresh air, nature, and the healthy aspects that come along with that. But on a more personal level, each gardener would have different goals and outcomes they have set for themselves for when they come out here. So, whether that is physical activity or emotional and mental supports that come from being around other people. There could even be spiritual things happening out here for some of the gardeners. But all-in-all it depends on the gardener, their stage of life, and who they are. What do you get out of this program? I get the same things that all the gardeners get. Such as physical, the emotional difference between being here and being in the inner city. As well, there is the mental aspect of it. Getting a break from work in a sense. And then there is the fact that I am the person that is helping facilitate and create these positive interactions for other people. With that, I get job satisfaction and personal satisfaction and I feel as though I am making a meaningful difference in the world.