These Project Leadership students are working with a local landscaping company to design and build a permanent garden in between Mercy Willard Hospital and The Willows at Willard.
The garden will be beautifully landscaped and multi-sensory and will address two specific community needs:
1. Sensory stimulation. This can be anything that stimulates one of our five senses. Any form of sensory stimulation is a part of a patient’s objective environment and contributes to the “good life.”
Sensory stimulation is intended to bring enjoyment to seniors, reduce their anxiety and depression, and increase their social interaction.
An environment where several senses are stimulated will also be beneficial for hospital patients and staff. Time spent in a multi-sensory environment has been shown to increase concentration, focus attention, improve alertness, and to improve creativity, social relations and communications.
Multi-sensory environments have not only provided alternative and powerful forms of sensory stimulation for individuals, they also have managed to break into cultures within health and education, providing new ways of encouraging learning, motor development, cognitive development, language and social interaction skills.
2. Improved health. There is a growing body of research confirming the positive health benefits of spending time outdoors in nature. The therapeutic value of well-designed outdoor spaces is being acknowledged by many. Healing gardens provide patients and their families, as well as hospital staff, with a setting for fresh air, contemplation, sensory stimulation, interaction with others, and transition from the medical environment.
The Willard wellness garden will promote sensory stimuli and improved health by way of visual, auditory and tactile stimulation through colorful flowers, textured trees and the natural sound and sight of birds and other life throughout the year.
The project goals and objectives are to provide an environment for stressed patients, residents and their families, as well as fatigued healthcare providers, where they can unwind and recharge, quiet the mind, heal the soul and to connect with nature and rejuvenate their energy. They will do this through walking the garden, breathing in fresh air, touching and feeling the textures of the foliage, viewing the colors of the flowers and listening to sounds of nature.
The students have held fundraisers, applied to grants, and sought sponsorship and donations from businesses across the county. They continue to be in need of funds, which must be secured by the end of March. If you are interested in donating, write checks payable to: Project Leadership of Huron County and mail to the team’s fiscal officer: Huron County Department of Job and Family Services, c/o Jean M. Fisher, fiscal officer, 185 Shady Lane Drive, Norwalk, Ohio 44857 or call 419-668-8126 ext. 3107.
Project Leadership of Huron County is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so donations are tax-deductible. Students are required to complete a community project as a part of their graduation requirements.