Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gardens, Mental Health and City wide solutions.

Those who have been following my activities may have noticed that in addition to my work at Welcome, I'm in my 9th year of working with the chronically homeless in San Francisco, I have started to work part-time for Project Homeless Connect (PHC). I initially began working at Project Homeless Connect during a time when foundation support of Welcome wavered and I needed a bit of job security. Of course, the idea of working with an organization that had such a city wide impact to their work was appealing to me as someone who has been advocating for the homeless for so many years.

Thankfully due to a major gift from St. Paulus Lutheran Church, Welcome's funding for this year is back on track and I continue to do the one-on-one work with our homeless guests, to preach and teach about hunger issues and to help organize volunteers and groups to feed hungry people through dinners and community garden at Welcome.

But, I'm also delighted to continue my work at PHC to create opportunities for free mental health care in community gardens throughout San Francisco, enabling people to share skills and improve their quality of life and to help individuals learn employment skills.

At Welcome I'm able to work with people individually over the long term, to be their pastor and work with congregations. At PHC, I'm able to work to find solutions to some of the root causes of homelessness on a city wide level.
Below, I've included information about the Seeding Resilience program that I created and am leading at PHC's Growing Home Community Garden. I hope you'll be as excited about it as I am!

Seeding Resilience
is the Growing Home Community Garden's (GHCG) new project to increase access to mental health services and increase employment opportunities and skills. A two year innovation project with major support provided by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), the Seeding Resilience project is 75% focused on the GHCG (Octavia & Lily) and 25% on Urban Agricultural leaders in San Francisco to build a citywide network of support for mental health consumers.

Outcomes of the project include:
  • 3 weekly skill share opportunities for individuals to learn about: 1) cooking & nutrition; 2) garden skills; and 3) health skills and stress reduction [click on the links for notes and photos from these skill shares]
  • 4 educational opportunities for urban agriculture leaders to increase their awareness, create collaboration opportunities and employment opportunities for mental health consumers
  • regular support groups, workshops and events on topics recommended by garden members and skill share participants
  • information about the learnings of the project that will be made available so that the successful parts of the project can be reproduced in other locations

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