Master Gardeners & KAINOS Collaboration
Kainos Home and Training "enables adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities to maximize his/her potential while becoming active, contributing integrated members of the community." Suzanne Redell, a registered horticultural therapist and Master Gardener (MG), helped connect the two organizations back in spring 2017. The program was created by MG Megan Goulden, an intern in horticultural therapy. This program has enabled clients with a variety of abilities to work inclusively in different garden spaces.
The benefits of this partnership are many: Kainos clients meet new people, learn how to garden, build confidence, work on social skills, and give back to their communities. Clients are so happy to see their new Master Gardener friends on Thursday work days, as they help out and tend to their loaned garden bed that’s been filled with Master Gardener donated plants. The collaboration promotes health and wellness to clients that have intellectual/developmental disabilities by utilizing horticultural therapy methods.
Four horticultural therapy groups occur each week with clients working in MG spaces 1-2 times per week. Staff at Kainos are very enthusiastic about this partnership, as many of their senior clients used to do landscape work and have fond memories from that time. Clients learn that they can continue gardening as they age by learning new ways to adapt using tools or how they move their bodies. Many MGs have helped greatly with their friendly smiles, patience, and inclusive attitudes. They educate as they talk about how to cook different herbs, or how the vegetables help give nutrients to our bodies, or how many times to turn the compost tumbler.
The premise of horticultural therapy is that “working with and around plants brings about positive psychological and physical changes that improve the quality of life for the individual" (Relf, 1992). The MG program is fortunate to have other registered horticultural therapists or interns as volunteers, including Green Mann and John O’Hara. Connecting people with plants is a main goal of horticultural therapy, and working with the MG program provides many chances for clients and MG volunteers to do just that.
Special thanks to Bill Michel, Kathy Stamm, Maggie Lim, Anita Galeana, and Suzanne Redell who have been great supporters of the program over the past year.