Members of the Step By Step Clubhouse have been busy this year tending to their very first vegetable garden.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The idea for the garden came from a planning meeting for the Clubhouse’s annual Art & Wellness Festival.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â In preparation for the festival, which was held in June, Colleen Brown, Supervisor of the Step By Step Clubhouse wanted to plant flowers in front of the clubhouse.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â As the discussion continued Colleen and Helen Hoefer, coordinator of Catholic Charities’ Donna’s Place program, decided to take the idea a little further and involve the members in an outdoor project that they can work together on and have something to show for their efforts.
“We thought a vegetable garden would be a wonderful experience for our members,” said Brown.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â “They could enjoy tending the garden and the vegetables it produces could be used right here at the clubhouse when we prepare our daily lunches.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The members loved the idea and were eager to get started.”
With the help of Chris Matteson and Ron Deyo from Catholic Charities’ Weatherization Program who volunteered their time, the idea soon became a reality.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Brown explains, “It truly was a group effort.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Ron built the box for the garden, Chris, Helen, and Kelly Rainville planned and planted the vegetables, and we all hauled the dirt.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Once it was planted the members maintained the garden and are now starting to harvest some of the vegetables that are ready.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â They are enjoying fresh peppers, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, and several varieties of herbs.”
Brown was thrilled with the success of the garden project and is looking ahead to next year.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â “Our members had a great time with this project.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â We are already planning what vegetables to plant next year.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â We want to start our plants from seeds and be able to grow herbs year-round.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â It’s been a great experience and fresh vegetables are a welcome addition to our lunch menu.”
A program of Catholic Charities of Oswego County, the Step by Step Clubhouse is a community psychiatric rehabilitation program that provides several components to adults recovering from mental illness in our community.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â These include Transitional Employment, Supportive Employment, Peer Support & Advocacy, Outreach services, and several other programs and activities.
Catholic Charities of Oswego County serves all people in need regardless of their religious affiliation. Primary funding sources for Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s programs are the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the Diocesan Hope Appeal, the County of Oswego and private donations by individuals and local companies and organizations.
For more information on the Step By Step Clubhouse you may contact Colleen Brown at 592-5598.