EARLEVILLE — What is currently a pile of dirt and rubble will soon turn into a safe haven for meditation and healing, as Deep Roots, Inc. looks to build a Healing Garden on their location at Clairvaux Farms in Earleville.
As an organization dedicated to fighting homelessness in Cecil County and the trauma caused by it, Deep Roots hopes that the new Healing Garden will provide a space for families to find some peace.
“I started as executive director last year, and I came in really not knowing a lot about homelessness and did a lot of research and looked at the things that were happening,” John Thompson, executive director of Deep Roots, said. “We started moving towards more of a trauma-informed operation, because what we found out is these folks that come here, the homeless folks that come to our farm, pretty much every one of them are dealing with some type of trauma.”
Deep Roots was founded in 2012 as a nonprofit organization with the mission of helping homeless people in the area turn their lives around.
Founded in 2012, Deep Roots’ headquarters is set on the grounds of Clairvaux Farm, where residents do certain chores to help maintain the farm.
Thompson feels that one of the only things missing at the farm is a place for the residents to have some privacy for silence and reflection.
“I noticed a lot of the families when they’re there, they really don’t have any place to go and be by themselves,” Thompson said. “We did some research on the healing gardens and found out that they’re really beneficial for all types of you know, the hospitals use them. And so we thought this would be an excellent program to do, so that if a family and their child wants to go out there, it would be really nice to have some privacy.”
So Thompson and Deep Roots decided to introduce a healing garden to the farm to give the residents and their families a space for them to escape and have their own private spot to heal and relax.
The entire garden will be comprised of smaller sections, including a Zen garden, herb garden, prayer garden and a children’s garden area.
Another important part of the garden is the bricks. A resident can have a brick engraved to honor someone or something special in their lives and can put it down somewhere in the healing garden as a special place to remember the loved one and the journey that brought them to Deep Roots.
Loretta Halton who began as a resident with the organization, is now an employee at Deep Roots.
“I was actually homeless living with friends for two years, I basically was just scouring around looking for places to go,” Halton said. “I had found Deep Roots through the internet. And I called them up. And I remember Miss Eileen was actually our case manager at the time, she called me and she helped me go through the process of getting in here. And it was smooth. So it took me about two weeks to get in here and kind of fall into place.”
As is the case with all residents after they settle in, Halton had to participate in chores to help maintain the farm. Which she said was a calming and clean environment to be in.
“I basically came out every day and I helped around the property to help make the property look good,” Halton said. “And I put my faith into it to push forward, and make a better experience for me and my kids.”
Halton believes that the introduction of the healing garden will be beneficial to all residents at Deep Roots.
“The healing garden, it’s definitely a good thing because having meditation, it definitely helps the mood, it helps the bad energy stay away,” Halton said. “It will help people get along better, it will help, just your overall happiness.”
Halton said that the experience she had as a resident caused her to want to become an employee of Deep Roots.
“It definitely helps out a lot being a past resident and knowing that you go through depression, anxiety and all that not fun stuff,” Halton said. “I can talk to the new residents and say ‘hey, I’ve been in your shoes, I understand you. If there’s anything that you need help with, I can help you and they come to me and they can trust me.’”
Thompson said that if all goes well, and with some help from the community, the healing garden could be completed in approximately six months.
“In order to heal and to pull yourself together, you got to have that quiet time,” Thompson said. “All the research shows that these healing gardens are really beneficial.”
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