Children’s Friend and Family Services Therapeutic Garden Sprouting Vegetables, Herbs and Life Lessons

Children's Friend and Family Services Mentor and Mentee filling the new flower beds.

Children’s Friend and Family Services Mentor and Mentee filling the new flower beds.

Thanks to a grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Food Fund Children’s Friend and Family (Children’s Friend) is sprouting vegetables in its Therapeutic Mentoring Garden Project.

From planning to planting, tending, and harvesting youth are gaining important skills that can be expanded to other parts of their lives.

A handful of youth were involved with building, prepping soil, and planting seedlings two weeks ago. One of  Children’s Friend’s mentors Robert “Bobby” Sims worked with one of his mentees, an adolescent male from the Salem community, on assembling our two raised beds, two free standing garden containers and our garden bench. While working on these structures for our project the youth expressed an interest in planting seedlings as well, something he had not done before. The two worked together to plant beets.

Youth and their mentors have planted a mix of vegetables including zucchini, squash, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers green and yellow beans, lettuce and tomatoes. They also planted herbs including basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley and  rosemary. Along with teaching youth about nurturing plants from seedlings to fruition, it also helped the children identify foods that make healthy choices for meals.

“We are grateful to Harvard Pilgrim for it generous grant that is teaching youth about so many lessons from gardening to teamwork and nutrition,” says Carla M. Saccone, Children’s Friend President and CEO.