Leading National Behavioral Healthcare Provider

Call 1-800-345-1292

  • ASCEND Program
  • May awareness
  • Devereux News
  • Who we help
  • Careers at Devereux
  • Inspirational messages of Hope banner

Print Send email Share on LinkedIn Tweet

Dig this: Devereux MA/RI vocational students grow knowledge, skills through gardening

 

This summer, students enrolled in Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s vocational program planted a variety of vegetables, including cucumbers, green peppers, lettuce, summer squash, tomatoes and zucchinis, in a raised garden bed on campus.

After a few months of watering, weeding and watching the vegetables grow, students harvested their vegetables, which they then used to create delectable dishes in a cooking class.

In addition to acquiring horticulture skills, the vocational students are gaining valuable life skills, such as healthy eating, as well as social skills, including teamwork and relationship-building.

When it comes to hands-on learning, students enrolled in the vocational program at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Massachusetts and Rhode Island have a growing appreciation for gardening.

This summer, students planted a variety of vegetables, including cucumbers, green peppers, lettuce, summer squash, tomatoes and zucchinis, in a raised garden bed on campus. After a few months of watering, weeding and watching the vegetables grow, it was time to harvest. The students, who also participate in a cooking class, were able to taste the fruits of their labor through assorted culinary creations.

“This is a wonderful project for our students who take great pride in maintaining the garden, making sure animals have not disturbed the soil and picking the vegetables when they are ripe,” said Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island Vocational Coordinator Jysenia Valle. “Our students get so excited. I will be walking down the hallway and they will say, ‘Miss Valle, did you see the garden? We have a tomato!’ Or, when we are working in the garden, ‘Geez – those zucchinis are huge!’ Their eyes brighten, and they are filled with joy. That is incredibly fulfilling for me.”

Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island Education Director Katherine Flynn, M.S.Ed., also noted, “Gardening has a clear beginning, middle and end, and our students have the opportunity to participate in the entire process and learn where their food comes from. We have four raised garden beds on campus. Each year, our vocational program, which started this project three years ago, grows vegetables in one of the beds. Other classrooms can use the other three beds as they wish. Recently, we had a classroom grow green beans, another grew sunflowers – it is fun to see everyone embrace gardening.”

Cultivating life, social skills

In addition to acquiring horticulture skills, the vocational students are gaining valuable life and social skills.

“Our students are learning how to eat healthy. Some kids may say, ‘I don’t like zucchini,’ but once they try it, or try a variation of it, like zucchini noodles, they may find they actually love how it tastes,” Valle explained. “Some even ask to take vegetables back to their residence hall, saying, ‘Miss Valle, can I take my cucumber? I really want to share it.’ In addition, when the kids are working in the garden, they are in a group setting. Being with different peers every day gives them an opportunity to learn how to communicate effectively, work together and build relationships.”

Creating positive experiences

Valle says her students look forward to working in the garden each year. Look below to find out what just a few of them love most about the project.

“I’ve learned patience from working in the garden. Teamwork is my favorite part.”
– 14-year-old student

“Working in the garden is really relaxing. I like getting dirty.”
– 16-year-old student

“I’ve enjoyed learning how to garden. Planting and spending time with my job coach is my favorite part.”
– 17-year-old student

Valle also shared, “Gardening is just a small part of our vocational program, but one that creates memorable moments and positive experiences for our students.”

Learn more about Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.

 

Latest News

Fireside Chat Screenshot   Devereux video: Leaders share first jobs at Devereux and how ASCEND can propel your career

Watch our latest Fireside Chat, in which Devereux President and CEO Carl E. Clark II introduces several leaders who share how they got their start at Devereux, what they are doing today, and how Devereux’s ASCEND Career Accelerator program can help anyone looking to advance their career.

Arnette Miller   Celebrating Devereux’s Healthcare Heroes: Spotlight on Devereux Arizona Clinician Arnette Miller

At Devereux, our employees are at the heart of everything we do – and are key to our success. Learn how Devereux Arizona Clinician Arnette Miller is serving and inspiring others every day.

New podcast episode   Season 2, Episode 6: ‘Not Your Average School Psychologist’ podcast

Listen to the latest episode of the Devereux Center for Effective Schools’ podcast featuring Amanda Nickerson Ph.D., NCSP, who shares her work informing the National Association of School Psychologists PREPaRE model, which provides training to school crisis response teams. Dr. Nickerson is a professor and director of the Dr. Jean M. Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Amazon Music/Audible.

Denis Oswe   Servant Leadership Snapshot: Devereux New York Program Manager Denis Oswe

Devereux New York Program Manager Denis Oswe leads by example, treats everyone with respect and demonstrates empathy with the individuals he serves, as well as his colleagues. Learn how he is motivating and inspiring all those around him.

Guests at Gala   Devereux MA/RI gala raises $225,000 to benefit youth, adults with disabilities

More than 200 guests gathered at the historic Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, for Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s annual gala to raise critical funds for children, adolescents and adults with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences.


More Stories