Building New Hope’s, Garden of Hope Case Statement
New Hope for Kids has played an essential role in our community since we began offering services in 1996. Our organization serves needs that are not adequately met by any other organization in our area. New Hope for Kids Grief Program helps children and families cope with the feelings of grief and loss after the death of a loved one through a series of specialized activities including painting, drawing, journaling and inter-active play and discussion. Our Grief Support program offers the only comprehensive series of group sessions and activities that focus on children from 3-18 years of age, but includes support for parents/caregivers in order to help create a cohesive family unit. Our Wishes for Kids program is the only wish organization that offers a series of family events and activities that are structured for children with special health needs.
Our current facility was created to offer a non-clinical, home-like environment that would help grieving or ill children feel at home and become more receptive to our program activities.
We have succeeded in creating a unique interior space where children can feel at home while engaging in their program activities, but we have not had a suitable outdoor play area that would allow us to expand the scope of our services. The play and garden area would give children the opportunity to take part in healthy exercise through games like basketball, four square, yard soccer and many other organized games. They will take part in planting, caring for and harvesting herbs and vegetables as part of their program activities.
This will add a new and necessary component for these children to improve their mental health and work through the grieving process more effectively. It would provide a handicapped accessible area for seriously ill children to play and gather in.
What does this project entail?
The Garden of Hope Campaign will raise funding for the construction of a multi-use play area and memorial garden on the property surrounding our current facility.
In 2015, we purchased and then renovated a new facility in Maitland that has allowed us to greatly increase the number of children served through our Center for Grieving Children. The building includes rooms for counseling, support groups and other program activities, a conference area available for volunteer trainings, educational webinars and community rental, and an upstairs area with offices and volunteer work space. Grants and individual donations allowed us to completely fund this endeavor.
We increased the number of children served by 33% in 2019 (from 350 to 465) and we want these numbers to continue to increase.
Currently all program activities occur indoors, but we need to incorporate outdoor activities as well by constructing a play area on our property. The play area will be surrounded by a memorial garden that will be open to our families and others that live in our community for a series of memorial events during the year. The garden will include an area with grow boxes for vegetables and herbs.
Along with counseling and grief support, exercise, fresh air and a healthy diet should be an integral part of a grieving family’s recovery. The play area will allow us to incorporate basketball, kickball, four square and other games. The memorial gardens will allow families to walk or sit in the garden area as well as create memorials for their own loved ones.
The play area will also allow us to expand our current summer and holiday camps. Currently, we offer two free camps for the families attending our programs.
The play area and memorial gardens will be made available to other local non-profits and support organizations when not in use in our program activities. We currently offer the use of our conference room and facility to some of these groups.
The gardens and play area will be enclosed by a fence when in use by children and families to ensure their safety while outdoors.
This project will provide additional resources to the families attending our grief support and wish programs. The additional space will allow us to serve more children simultaneously by providing additional activities. We served 465 children in 2019. Camps and outdoor activities would allow us to serve even more children when the play and garden area are completed and in use.
Indoor activities now include art, music and a series of game rooms. Outdoor games and sports will appeal to more children and offer a healthy, outdoor alternative.
The memorial gardens will provide an area to gather in a natural setting. The grow boxes will also give children an opportunity to learn about how food plants are grown and the importance of healthy food as they work to recover.
In conclusion, the creation of this Memorial Garden and Play Area at 544 Mayo Avenue in Maitland will address critical needs and will allow us to provide the highest level of program service to Central Florida children and families.
In order to do this, we count on the support of Central Florida. The services provided by New Hope for Kids makes our community a better, healthier and hope-filled place to live.