Giving hope and uniting generations in the garden

Local non-profit organization Oakwood Creative Care has partnered with the national nonprofit Mercy Housing to unite the young and the young at heart through an intergenerational gardening project funded by the City of Mesa.

Oakwood Creative Care is a Day Club offering innovative care solutions to seniors afflicted with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s, depression, or other conditions. Mercy Housing is an affordable, program-enriched housing provider, serving families, seniors and special needs. The collaboration between the two organizations provides Mesa community members with the unique opportunity to develop positive, intergenerational connections.

On Friday, March 14 at 2:30 p.m., Oakwood Creative Care will be hosting the launch of the project with the installation of raised flower beds and the planting of an edible garden. The event will be held at Oakwood Creative Care’s Town Center Day Club in downtown Mesa at 247 N. Macdonald, near Center and University (NORTH entrance of the building). In attendance will be Councilmember Chris Glover as well as several city officials, and involved community members, without whom this garden would not have been possible.

“I believe this project is a wonderful way to connect generations with each other while also giving back to the community,” said Councilman Glover. “I am honored to be a part of this wonderful event and look forward to a great day of gardening.”

This heartwarming project has given Oakwood member Janet a new found purpose in life. Once isolated and depressed, Janet has now befriended one of the youth from Mercy Housing. Following a recent project with their Master Gardener, the two unlikely friends sat on a patio swing together, swapping stories and enjoying fresh picked oranges from the Master Gardener’s demonstration.

“Unique bonds like this these new friends have formed can help Oakwood members forget about painful diagnosis and, at the same time, offer Mercy Housing’s youth the opportunity to have a consistent friend and mentor who can help them be successful in our [gardening project,]” said Sherri Friend, President and CEO of Oakwood Creative Care.

The project has been made possible through the City of Mesa Human Services and funds received through the ABC (A Better Community) donation, a tax-deductible gift distributed amongst local non-profit agencies that serve low-income residents, at-risk children, the elderly and disabled.