Therapeutic Horticulture is blossoming at Cape Abilities!

Filed in Blog, Cape Abilities Farm, Community Partners, Life Skills, Volunteers by on September 11, 2018

From Left: CA’s Anthony S., Brad Field, Chair of Rotary Club of Hyannis’ Good Works Board, Jitka Borowick, President of Rotary Club of Hyannis, CA Asso. Dir. of Program Operations Leah LaCross, Paul Gandillot, Chair of Rotary Club of Hyannis’ Community Development Committee, CA’s President and Executive Dir. Larry Thayer, CA’s Amanda P., CA Facilities Manager Nathan Eatough, and CA’s Hayley D.

 

With grant support of the Hyannis Rotary Club, Cape Abilities has created a Therapeutic Horticulture program with wheelchair accessible raised beds that will provide a learning experience and personal satisfaction for individuals in our Hyannis Life Skills/Day Habilitation program who are not be able to access traditional gardens because of mobility and other physical or cognitive challenges.  

More than one hundred individuals in our Hyannis Day Habilitation/Life Skills program will greatly benefit from participation in an accessible, program-based horticultural program.  Therapeutic horticulture has been proven to be a positive component of habilitation programs for individuals compromised by intellectual and developmental disabilities. A recent report from the University of Florida Extension Services notes the benefits of gardening include: stress reduction, building self-esteem, increased problem solving, development of nurturing relationships, increased social interaction, responsibility, sensory stimulation, and the lessening of pain as well as the ease of emotional pain.

Our partnership on this initiative began when the Hyannis Rotary Club presented Cape Abilities with $5,000 in grant support to create an innovative therapeutic featuring six handicapped accessible planters.  The partnership was expanded when a  Rotarian suggested bringing in the talented carpenters from Cape Cod Regional Technical High School (below) in Harwich to build and deliver the planters to Cape Abilities, where they were weatherproofed by several Rotarian volunteers.

Beyond just growing vegetables, there are a range of activities and experiences involved in gardening (planning, caring, watching, hoping, trusting, succeeding and failing) that have a clear therapeutic connection.  Bending and reaching increases range of motion, promotes eye-hand coordination, builds endurance, strengthens muscles and challenges the mind.  Our goal is to offer this as a value-added component of our program that will offer a positive and healthy way for a number of program participants to learn and be involved in an exciting process that will change with the seasons.  The horticultural staff from our 6A Farm will advise and consult on plant selection, cultivation and maintenance so that we can ensure a positive experience for our participants and a productive garden!

 

With the goal of achieving a healthy lifestyle while also learning about the benefits of diets rich with vegetables, outdoor gardening is a wonderful way to encourage individuals with disabilities to learn skills and grow in their understanding of the impact of nutrition on their well-being.

 

As we begin celebrating 50 years of serving hundreds individuals with disabilities on Cape Cod, we are sincerely grateful to Hyannis Rotary Club and the students at Cape Cod Tech for their continued support of Cape Abilities.  Your involvement in our mission and your incredible generosity continues to make a significant impact on the lives of the people we serve every day.

 

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