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Rotary donation sprouts group home greenhouse

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jul 09, 2014 - 11:58 AM |
The Rotary Club of Sudbury Sunrisers has donated more than $6,000 to put towards a greenhouse and gardens at a Canadian Mental Health Association group home. Canadian Mental Health Association residential co-ordinator Nicole King (centre) is seen here breaking ground on the project with Rotary Club of Sudbury Sunrisers members (from left) Eleanor Connors, Mick Weaver, Sue Lekun and Gerry Lougheed Jr. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

The Rotary Club of Sudbury Sunrisers has donated more than $6,000 to put towards a greenhouse and gardens at a Canadian Mental Health Association group home. Canadian Mental Health Association residential co-ordinator Nicole King (centre) is seen here breaking ground on the project with Rotary Club of Sudbury Sunrisers members (from left) Eleanor Connors, Mick Weaver, Sue Lekun and Gerry Lougheed Jr. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Gardening 'good therapy' for mental health survivors

After giving the idea some thought, Darren Schouten said he'd like to plant pumpkins in the backyard of the Moonlight Avenue group home where he's been living since last fall.

“They take up a lot of space and they're low maintenance, and at the end of the year, you get a couple of pumpkins,” he said. 

The group home — opened by the Canadian Mental Health Association a year ago — provides support and a permanent place to live for eight adults living with mental illness.

Thanks to the Rotary Club of Sudbury Sunrisers, the group home's residents will soon be able to garden in their own backyard.


Several members of the club raised $1,350 for the project through a May 30 concert. The club also kicked in another $5,000 from the proceeds of its annual Vive la Vin wine-tasting event, which took place in November.

The funds will pay for the construction of a new greenhouse and gardens on the group home's spacious grounds. The construction is expected to be completed over the next few months, with a grand opening slated for Sept. 18.

It's hoped the project will provide the group home residents not only with a pastime, but with vocational and entrepreneurial skills, as they may decide to sell some of the produce from the gardens.

The Canadian Mental Health Association's residential co-ordinator, Nicole King, said there's “no words” that can thank the Rotary Club of Sudbury Sunrisers enough for their contributions.

“The dream for the individuals here to have the greenhouse has really come into reality and fruition because of them,” she said.

The club got involved in the project as a way to honour one of its former members, Bev Crockford, who recently moved to the Muskoka area, said Rotary Club of Sudbury Sunrisers president Sue Lekun.

Crockford — who cared deeply about mental illness issues — recently retired as executive director of Northern Youth Services, which runs detention facilities for young offenders.

“As a Rotary Club, we wanted to say thank you and make a mark for her,” Lekun said.

The project is "awesome," she said.

“To me, being physical, being active and hands on in anything is good therapy,” Lekun said.

“It's just a good project to make them proud to see that their accomplishments end up producing something, whether it be flowers or vegetables. It shows that they're actually worthy and making a difference.”
Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer

@heidi_ulrichsen

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