This project will fund the building of gardens designed around trauma recovery initiatives for at-risk youth. The focus is to provide safe spaces for recovery, ways of connecting with others and for vocational training. These gardens will include sensory zones, plantings for education and reconnecting with nature--including where food comes from; outdoor classrooms, active art areas, pacing pathways and poetry reading/ yoga spaces, The first gardens will be implemented in two Juvenile Justice settings. The goal is that these multipurpose outdoor spaces will be built in youth centers all across North Carolina.
The project is being spearheaded by Dr. Natasha Donnelly PhD, RN, Sociologist and Suicide Prevention specialist who currently works for Juvenile Justice NC and Ms. Anne Spafford, MLA, Professor of Landscape Horticulture at NC State, author and design consultant. Natasha researched and developed the concept over a 3 year period with the input of multidisciplinary teams who specialize in trauma recovery support. In Oct. 2017 Anne and her talented students from NC State University collaborated to design these spaces and make the vision a possible reality even more spectacular than ever imagined possible.
We are now holding our first annual fundraiser "Art Expression in the Garden" in Raleigh at the JC Raulston Arboretum on 21st April at 4pm rain or shine.
Picture above of proposed garden design by NCSU student Yadong Liu
This magical event was themed around using nature and artistry to navigate the labyrinth of life. Held on 21st April at 4pm (rain or shine) in the beautiful gardens of the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. It was opened by the Principal Ballerinas Margaret Severin-Hansen and Marcelo Martinez from Carolina Ballet, Soprano Lora Fabio accompanied by a violin trio. The event had live bands and performing artists throughout the gardens. Justin LeBlanc from Project Runway presented a fashion show with NYC Fashion week models. Ballet dancer and model from Washington Ballet, Peyton Anderson, made an appearance. The Winston-Salem group, Authoring Action, brought down the house with their spoken poetry performance that they had created just for our event. Get regular updates by visiting our facebook page - therapeuticgardensncjj
Photo of Peyton Anderson, Washington Ballet by Luis Pons
The fundraiser has passed, but you can still help! Visit
to make a donation or to sponsor a garden (or built garden element.
Photo Margaret Severin-Hansen and Marcelo Martinez by Cindy McEnery
Justin LeBlanc - Designer, Project Runway
Soprano Lora Fabio (known for singing engagements under the direction of Maestro Alfred Sturgis include soprano soloist for all five productions of the North Carolina Master Chorale and Carolina Ballet's Carmina Burana).
Sonja Simone - model and performer
Kindale Godbee -Master Hairstylist and Makeup Artist
On any given day in NC you can find 442 juveniles committed to a Youth Development Center (average stay one year) or in a Detention Center in NC. In addition there were 25,148 admissions to community programs during fiscal year 2014-15 (NCDPS 2016). 100% of girls and 67% of boys have histories of exposure to an average of 6 different traumatic events. Of these, 99.5% are experiencing associated mental health problems. Over half meet the diagnostic criteria for post traumatic stress disorder.
We know that environment and contact with nature assists with self control and positive state of mind. Incorporating gardens to these settings will offer additional opportunities for recovery and success– This is a project that will really make a positive difference to individuals and to communities.
Find out more click link below - https://www.ncdps.gov/blog/2018/01/08/sensory-gardens-promote-healing-juvenile-facilities
These unique therapeutic gardens will
Field of Blue Irises Sponsors
Dr. Lucille Keenan
NC Guardian Ad Litem
NC Chapter American Found. for
Silver Sedge Sponsor
Renee Emory and Chiesi
Holly Hill Hospital
American Found. for Suicide Prevention
Cuppa Goodness Teas
Natasha and Neil Donnelly
Durham Museum of Life & Sciences
Garden Supply Company
NCSU Dept. Horticultural Science
Methodist Home for Children
Open Door Yoga
Releve Dance Wear
Danesha Seth Carley