Planting Seeds for the Future

Child Watering the Childhelp Healing Garden in California. Beaumont, CA – For Therapist, Joe Staudt, cantaloupe and watermelon seeds are an answer to a prayer. Fortunately, the seeds came with volunteers to help till, fertilize and plant the fruit in Childhelp’s Therapy Garden.

“You have no idea how much of a difference this makes.” Working for a non-profit agency, Joe has been keeping the Gardening Therapy program alive using his own salary for the past two years. Then “Wings”, a volunteer group, stepped up and raised funds to help support the garden.

“I was so excited to finally get a shed!” Joe opened the donated gardening and building supplies like he was a child on Christmas morning. “I wanted to set it up right away.”

Volunteers from the Malibu, CA chapter of Wings drove over two hours Sunday morning to share the spirit of community service with their daughters. “Wings” is dedicated to making a difference for foster children cared for by Childhelp.

Joe Staudt isn’t the only one excited by the living garden. Children from the Childhelp Merv Griffin Village have been waiting for years to get the Gardening Therapy program up and running. “The children look forward to working in the garden because they see progress.”Volunteer tills the Childhelp Healing Garden in California

Staudt is one of the ten therapists at Childhelp who use non-traditional methods to reach abused, neglected and at-risk youth.

Other methods of therapy utilized at the 121-acre residential-treatment center, established in Beaumont in 1978, include Equine and animal-assisted therapy, Music, Art and Wilderness Therapy.

A scarecrow guards one of the eight planter boxes in the garden. Already planted by the children at Childhelp are mint, lilac, basil, lavender, oregano, thyme, zucchini, banana peppers, jalapeño and habanero peppers and heirloom tomatoes.

“The final project I would like to see restored is the Garden Maze,” hopes Staudt. Years ago, the maze functioned as a labyrinth where the children could walk through peacefully and relax. Ideally, the new maze would be shaded and have a bench where children could calm themselves and find solitude, while the compact area would still keep them safely supervised.

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