The Windsor-St. Clair Rotary Club presents a cheque to Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare for a new greenhouse. (Photo by Jason Viau)

New Greenhouse To Help Kids With Mental Illness

Kids dealing with mental health issues can sprout new skills once a greenhouse is built at the Regional Children’s Centre in west Windsor.

The Windsor-St. Clair Rotary Club made a $150,000 donation to Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare Thursday morning, enough to fund 100% of the project.

Program director Dr. Cory Saunders says this greenhouse will give kids another opportunity to grow.

“They are kids who may come from abuse or neglect backgrounds who often have trauma in terms of their history,” he says. “They sometimes have behaviours that prevent them from going to regular school and being able to get them back to being a kid again is so important.”

The idea was planted when the Rotary Club, which informally calls themselves a Green Club as well, approached Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.

“It fits in with everything we do,” says Anna Jurak, who spearheaded the fundraising campaign. Money was raised during the most recent TV auction.

“Rotary International has a lot of different areas and children and youth is one area. As well, it’s a green initiative. It fits in to a lot of the ideals of rotary service.”

As someone who spent 15 years on a farm raising her two children, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare CEO Janice Kaffer says she’s very excited.

“Growing their own food, monitoring the progress and at the end of that whole experience eating that,” she says. “Being able to see that you did something, you did something positive for a child, especially those ones that are struggling.”

The children’s center also has a movement room, play therapy areas, a gym and playground as these children move through the therapeutic process.

Youth with social, developmental, emotional and behavioural issues come to the the facility on Connaught Rd. for treatment.

Planning will soon get underway and the greenhouse is scheduled to open next September.