We are blossoming! Please visit our new website. Click on the grey button!

What a glorious afternoon we had! Thank you to all the amazing performers, guests, and volunteers! 

About Us

How We're Helping

 We are blossoming!  Please visit our new website at  tftcgardens.org 

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  supported by Ms. Anne Spafford, MLA, Professor of  Landscape Horticulture at NC State, author and design consultant. Natasha researched and developed  the concept over a 5 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  with Juvenile Justice Students to  add to the designs for  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

Ist Annual "Art Expression in the Garden" fundraiser was held April 21


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  including Sonny4Miles, 16th Seed, Gina Revae, Foscoe Philharmonic, and performing artists throughout the gardens. Justin LeBlanc from Project Runway presented a fashion show with the launch of his evening wear collection in NC and collaboration from Art2Wear original designs. by Katie Rant and Olivia Koval. NYC Fashion week models including Svea and Hayley McGrath with Sonja Simone,.  Ballet dancer and model from Washington Ballet, Peyton Anderson and Holly Donnelly from Sarasota Ballet 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

Donate or Sponsor the Gardens


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

Photo gallery 

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 

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Did you know?

 On any given day in NC you can find 438  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-facilitie


These unique therapeutic gardens will 

  • Provide safe spaces for trauma recovery - including sensory plants, pathways, yoga and art expression walls
  • Encourage social connections - a space for group work, joining together and providing healthy conversation topics about garden life and activities
  • Provide vocational training - learning about plants, growing healthy vegetables, learning to cook with fresh vegetables, building garden structures and more
  • Promote science education - educational experiences in outdoor classrooms to enhance the learning experience
  • Provide spaces for community and family engagement
  • Aid in suicide prevention
  • Facilitate stress relief for staff - to reduce staff burnout and improve staff retention

Sponsors and Supporters

Field of Blue Irises Sponsors
Dr. Lucille Keenan
Betsy Rhodes

NC Guardian Ad Litem

Hummingbird Sponsor
Thomas Brown
CA Technologies
NC Chapter American Found. for 

Suicide Prevention

Silver Sedge Sponsor

Renee Emory and Chiesi
Holly Hill Hospital

2112 Percussion

American Found. for Suicide Prevention
Aimee Anderson
Angus Barn
Jerry Castor

Cuppa Goodness Teas
Holly Donnelly
Josh Donnelly
Natasha and Neil Donnelly
Bill Fonteno
Durham Museum of Life & Sciences
Garden Supply Company
Napolean Hill
NCSU Dept. Horticultural Science
Irregardless Cafe
Jane Miller
Kieffer Designs
Sandy King
Methodist Home for Children
Elizabeth Miles
Preston Montague
Open Door Yoga
Kevin Rader-Rhodenbaugh
Releve Dance Wear
Danesha Seth Carley
Annie Sidner

Anne Spafford

Contact Us

Therapeutic Gardens NCJJ


Contact Us with Questions 



Natasha Donnelly


Get in Touch!


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