Gardening Grace Update
March usually signifies Spring and the beginning of nice gardening in the South. This March, the weather did not cooperate. However, some other positive things did occur at Grace Village in Perry, Georgia. During that month, the facility received the Kitchen Gardeners International grant. At the same time, Joy H. arrived at the women's shelter.
Joy's story is the hidden story of many women who become residents of Grace Village. She was a wife and a working mother. Her family had a nice home on an acre of land. She was enjoying life. Then tradegy struck.
Joy's young husband had a stroke and required 24 hour care. Joy's decision was to quit her job and to personally provide the necessary home care to her disabled spouse. With assistance from the Veteran's Administration, she was able to provide that care. The care lasted for eight long years. It was during this time of struggle, Joy discovered the solace in attending her gardens.
The struggle ended for Joy's husband in 2009. For Joy, her struggles only became worse. She turned to drugs and alcohol for escape from the hardships of life. Her self-medicating led to poor judgment, arrest and conviction. This March, however, she was given a new beginning at Grace Village. Just as this Spring overcame last Winter's cold, Joy was able to renew her interest in gardening in order to ease her past transgressions.
Throughout her stay at Grace Villlage, Joy cared for the existing raised garden beds and assisted in the expansion of growing new crops. The 90 days of refuge, along with a renewed interest in gardening, gave her the confidence to re-enter the local community. She is now "giving back" by volunteering at Grace Village and other community gardens.
Joy is one of many women using Grace Village as a transitional step back into the local community. She has "grown" her own self worth through her gardening efforts at the residence. She says, "By the Grace of God, I have rediscovered my love of gardening, or, maybe, it has found me."
I know - I have witnessed this transformation. I truly believe Joy has found serenity through her rediscovery of gardening.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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