Donating your time and gardening know-how is one way to contribute to the Stan Cassidy Foundation.
Editor’s Note: Mary Parker is a volunteer with the Stan Cassidy Foundation’s Friends of the Park, a dedicated group of volunteers who care for the gardens in the Therapeutic Park.
I started gardening several years ago and then joined the Fredericton Garden Club with a couple of friends. At one of our meetings earlier this year Alissa Lee from the Stan Cassidy Foundation gave a talk to our group about the Stan Cassidy Centre and its Therapeutic Park.
A Stan Cassidy patient practises riding their newly-donated custom
trike around the Therapeutic Park.
A week or so later, our group went on a tour of the park and had an opportunity to see its extensive gardens. Most of us had only seen the park from the view you get driving along the highway on-ramp. We were all surprised at the size of the park, the number of garden beds and all the therapy features the park has. Alissa explained the purpose of the park – which goes far beyond just a green space in which to relax. The park has a variety of paths from gravel to cement to grass; a variety of stairs and inclines; and a variety of obstacles such as potholes and curbs cut at different heights
– all to provide people in wheelchairs a chance to practice travelling over these surfaces. It has a special “access for all” play structure for children
and perhaps most importantly of all; it has an extremely relaxing, inviting, peaceful, loving atmosphere.
There are a wide variety of plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees; all beautifully laid out and there is always something in bloom. There are shady spots and sunny spots, a water feature, little tables with checker boards and lots of benches tucked in cozy corners.
Unfortunately, the Stan Cassidy Centre does not have any full-time or even part-time gardening staff. A local landscaper does a spring clean-up but the day-to-day maintenance of the garden can be sadly neglected. That’s where the Friends of the Park come in! Volunteers are greatly needed to keep ahead of the weeds and the menace of the giant thistles.
Anyone can join the Stan Cassidy Foundation’s Friends of the Park and it is work well-suited to students looking for volunteer hours and anyone interested in donating their gardening skills. The Fredericton Garden Club did one big group “weeding session” earlier this spring and another very recently. Throughout the summer various members of our club went in either singly or in groups of two or three to tackle the weeds, water the few plants the irrigation system doesn’t reach, top up the water in the memory fountain, keep the garden shed tidy and other maintenance tasks.
If anyone else is interested in volunteering – don’t worry there’s always enough weeds for everyone!
on behalf of the Fredericton Garden Club
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in volunteering for the Stan Cassidy Foundation, please call 506-443-2151. Volunteer opportunities include office work, event participation and gardening. Volunteer hours for some tasks qualify for student award programs such as the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.