Jasmine’s Story: Sowing the seeds of community
If you had asked Jasmine 20 years ago if she thought she’d be an active member of her community, gardening and a Peer Support Worker, she would have said no.
You see, in 2002, things were not going well for Jasmine. After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she was in and out of hospitals and boarding houses. She had lost her husband and her purpose in life and she felt like her life was at a standstill. Finally, with the encouragement of her family, she realized she had to move on, take control of her situation and make a change.
The right home makes all the difference
“I really like the community here,” says Jasmine. “It was only when I came to Timbergrove that I really started to grow.”
In the eight years that Jasmine’s been living at Timbergrove, her mental health has improved dramatically, and she’s begun to thrive. She’s involved in many different programs and initiatives, including volunteering with the Breakfast Program, completing the Peer Support Training and working as a Peer Support Worker.
The pandemic meant a shift in activities, but Jasmine remained active, volunteering to sanitize all high-touch surfaces in common areas at the residence.
“It made me feel part of the community,” reflects Jasmine. “That I could assist. Be there to help and to make others feel safer.”
These opportunities have played a vital role in Jasmine’s recovery and are only made possible thanks to the people who generously support Coast Mental Health Foundation.
Another program that is the wholly funded through donations is Coast’s Therapeutic Gardening program.
Gardening groups promote wellness and help clients deal with mental health issues and challenges, such as stress, anxiety, and depression. The program also provides opportunities for clients to improve their physical fitness by increasing strength and agility, which brings a calming influence on their sense of self and place in the physical environment. Gardening has also been proven to increase self-esteem and connection.
“Once I started to grow my plants, from the tiny seeds, caring for them in my room and then caring and tending to them once they were planted in the garden. It was an incentive for me, like a rehab, to go out and do something with my hands. And I saw the fruits of my labour. I love this!” said Jasmine.
Jasmine (left), Marnie (centre-left), Robin (centre-right), Kelly (right)
The gardening program started at Timbergrove in 2018. However, 2022 was the first year Jasmine got involved and the first year back since the pandemic started. With three years of inactivity, the garden and outdoor furniture needed a lot of work. Too much work for just the tenants at Timbergrove to undertake on their own. Building on established community relationships, Kelly, the manager at Timbregrove, invited Robin, a recreation leader with Fraser Health, and Sheri, from Clubhouse Without Walls, and their clients, to volunteer to rejuvenate the garden area. Robin and Sheri’s volunteers worked to strip, sand and paint the picnic tables, benches and outdoor seating areas and help rebuild and replace the old planter boxes. Together the community built new garden pods, pulled weeds, and got the site ready for the 2022 gardening season.
Marnie, another resident at Timbergrove, also got her hands in the dirt for the first time this year. Not only did she nurture plants, but new friendships grew out of her participation in the gardening program.
“I felt more engaged in the whole Program this year. I’ve been involved with the Program since the beginning, helping Robin and Kelly, but this was the first year I actually planted anything and fully participated. This year was different because I’m in a better place mental-health-wise. I was more open to engaging in conversations with other people. I’m still in contact with two of them that don’t live here. I made some friendships that way.”
When you give to Coast Mental Health Foundation, your gift helps transform the landscape of mental health and creates opportunities for growth and wellness for people living with mental illness.