Family Services Healing Gardens (photo courtesy of Mike Turner)

When Family Services was in the process of being built, a landscape architect friend of the agency said, “As long as you’re going to build a green, environmentally friendly building, you ought to consider surrounding it with energy-efficient plants to mirror the healing that (happens) on the inside of the building with some kind of therapeutic garden on the outside of the building.”

“Many of the clients who come here experience their own kind of abuse and victimization,” volunteer coordinator of the healing gardens and retired COO Mike Turner said. “While they’re in the waiting room and as they enter and leave the building, the grounds create a nice, healing feeling for them.”

“We thought it was compelling to make what once was an abandoned industrial land into this really lovely garden,” said Turner. “I think we see that the same way as how we work with families. Families who come in with a lot of issues and abuse and their own history, they can become reborn and alive again.”

The healing gardens at Family Services are more than just what they appear to be, as they’re rooted deeper within the mission of the agency.

“The symbolism of the gardens is powerful, but it’s not just symbolism,” said Bob Feikema, president and CEO of Family Services. “It’s powerful because people feel it, people experience it in terms of why they’re here, what’s happening with them internally.”
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