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Grow Ahead Program

The Grow Ahead Program's sustainable gardening initiative exists in support of the Community Child Guidance Clinic’s mission to assist and support children with emotional and behavioral issues, through providing a sustainable source of nutritious food, a space for our clinicians and teachers to offer programming, and the support to develop healthy relationships with food and nature through hands-on education. 

The Grow Ahead Program helps to address food, nutrition, and green space scarcity while enhancing the care that children are already receiving at CCGC in a number of different ways. Inequitable access to nutritious diets and outdoor spaces can have negative influences on the health and behavior of any child, but can especially be detrimental to children who already have other mental and behavioral health issues. In an effort to create positive change in these regards at CCGC, our students have been learning to plant, harvest, and compost, all while also creating new nutritious recipes with the greens grown on our indoor grow rack system. With the completion of our new greenhouse and the development of a comprehensive curriculum in the spring of 2022, we are now able to begin expanding the program outdoors and are continuously expanding the program's goals. 

Focus Areas for the Program:

Nutrition 

  • Curriculum to teach about nutrition and related concepts, available in multiple formats for all children at CCGC
  • Hands-on learning about planting and harvesting as it relates to nutrition

Experiential Learning

  • Exposing kids to new experiences involving plants, animals, and the outdoors
  • Engaging kids in hands-on learning that also promotes physical movement and/or exercise

Therapeutically Supportive Outdoor Spaces

  • Gardens provide new settings for therapy of all kinds, including 1-1 outpatient counseling appointments, groups, and more
  • Areas of the garden will be specifically dedicated to therapeutic supports, including aspects around the five senses, calming/”take space” areas, and occupational therapy

Join us on social media to follow updates about the program and the positive impact it is already having on the children at CCGC! To learn more about the benefits of gardening on mental health, visit the links in the menu to the left! 

Victory Garden

Aside from giving our harvests to the children at CCGC, we have also made donations to local food pantries. With that, CCGC is proud to annouce that we have been officially designated as a CT Victory Garden. Started during World War I, the Victory Garden Movement called on Americans to grow food in anywhere possible as nothing was more valuable than self-sufficiency. Since then, Victory Gardens have become a tool that can be used to help feed communities in a time of need.

 

Check out our first official harvest with students!

DONATE AN ENGRAVED BRICK, AND BE A PART OF BUILDING OUR GARDEN!

You can be a part of building this new program for the benefit of many children for generations to come! Right now, we are offering an engraved brick program for donors that help us to build our outdoor garden space at our 317 North Main Street location. For $50, you can purchase a brick to be added to our garden path, and forever commemorate the moment that we all came together as a community to create a beautiful, therapeutic and educational space for children struggling with mental health and special education needs.

Thanks to our donors, including those who choose to purchase a brick for our pathway, we will be able to add things to our garden such as:

  • patio space with seating for therapy sessions or classroom activities
  • additional raised bed gardens at all heights to accommodate students and adult staff and volunteers of all abilities
  • new plants and planting supplies to regularly refresh and reinvigorate the indoor gardens in our greenhouse
  • functional and inclusive equipment and structures such as a wheelchair ramp for our greenhouse, and fencing for safety and security
  • a functional and self-sustaining koi pond that will help teach STEM concepts, responsibility, and a respect for nature
  • an outdoor chalkboard and wash station to facilitate experiential learning and lessons in the garden

....and more great things to come! Click the button below to be a part of our growing garden when you purchase an engraved brick today! 

*We will be in touch with our brick donors as soon as possible after purchase in order to collect your choice of inscription! To make a regular donation (in any amount) towards the Grow Ahead Program, or any program at CCGC, please visit our donation page via the button at the upper right corner of this screen! 

To learn more about donating and for any questions, please contact Marketing and Outreach Coordinator, Molly Getchell at 860-643-2101 ext. 217, or mollygetchell@ccgcinc.org.