Archive | June, 2009

4th of July Decor Up

19 Jun

Fourth of July decorations are up in the community room.  Thanks Liz.

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SPIN Re-Opening Celebration

19 Jun

On June 12th I had a chance to stop by the re-opening cookout hosted by Support Peer Independence Now (SPIN) — a drop-in center for people with mental health concerns in Aberdeen, MD.

SPIN has a nice facility and even nicer people.  It’s a good set-up — they have several rooms for solitary or group activities so that everyone can gravitate to where they feel comfortable.  There is a pool table, a library, a computer lab, a flat screen tv lounge, and a shaded backyard.

I enjoyed talking with community members, staffers including director Tiphany Johnson, and SPIN board members including Ilene Toller.

Thanks for the hotdog, the company, and a break before doing payroll later that afternoon.

We have a Key Point community member who regularly updates everyone on SPIN’s program activities.  They host dances, evening, and weekend activities useful to our folks.

— Michael

Our “Grow It! Eat It!” Garden Project

8 Jun

Liz_2_Final2 by Liz Tutino

Grow It! Eat It! is an initiative developed by the Maryland Cooperative Extension to encourage people in Maryland to plant a vegetable garden. Harford PRP took the challenge and has just started their first community garden.  The Cooperative Extension has been very helpful in teaching and giving advice about new gardens. The Master Gardeners of Harford County will make visits to a site to help new gardeners plan placement of their garden, suggest which plants should be grown and the placement of plants in the garden.  They have many resources that have been utilized and they are available for any questions or help in solving problems such as bug infestation or fungus problems.

In mid-May ground was broken at a Key Point Residential house for the new garden.  Manning a roto-tiller, staff and a client turned over the grass, added compost, and prepared the soil for three 4’ X 8’ vegetable plots. Clients planned the garden and then selected seeds and plants they wanted to grow. The plants in the garden include: onions, zucchini, cherry-tomatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, and bush beans.  Twice a week the clients go to the garden to water and weed.  A variety of clients take turns attending to the garden and all are hopeful for a successful crop.

Along with developing teamwork, the gardening has brought back happy memories for some clients who remember helping their parents or grandparents with a garden.  Others are learning a new skill and leisure activity.  Gardening is a great way to get exercise, go outside and watch things bloom and grow. Homemade salsa is just one of the treats we are hoping to have at the end of the growing season.

Thoughts on Gardening

5 Jun

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by Michael Reeder

We’ve been slowly watching our gardening project grow. Slowly, I say, given the amazing frequency with which nature decides to rain on gardening days. Still, the project is slowly taking off with a small band of interested volunteers.

A few weeks ago a few staff members (Kevin, Liz, myself) and a muscular client with farming experience decided to break ground. We rented a rototiller at Home Depot and went to work churning up soil in the backyard. We spread fertilizer and topsoil. We dug and sweated.

Apparently watching gardens grow is interesting. Before we knew it (or asked for it) we had clients and next door neighbors coming over to watch and offer advice. A neighbor with a larger, better rototiller appeared and proved a blessing. Soon we had three small garden strips ready to go.

A few days later Liz launched an expedition to Walmart with clients to pick out plants. A few days after that Erin and Liz took the first class out to the garden location. Of the first class members, about half of the folks were members on walkers or crutches. Erin and Liz both came back beaming and reported everyone able to participate. One client attempted to plant upside down with the roots to the sky and soon learned some basic biology facts.

So we are off and running and will see how our gardening efforts develop!