The Children's Institute Dedicates Nimick Family Therapeutic Garden
PITTSBURGH, June 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new 10,000-square-foot therapeutic garden will be dedicated Saturday, June 18 at 1:00 p.m. at The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh (1405 Shady Avenue in Squirrel Hill).
The Nimick Family Therapeutic Garden was specially designed to help kids with disabilities heal and learn, and to help parents refresh their spirits.
A path leads to delightful features
A gently meandering path leads visitors—on foot or crutches, in wheelchairs or with walkers—through a range of delightful features. They include:
- A treehouse accessible via a gently sloping ramp
- The Ann M. McGuinn Fountain of Hope, an interactive fountain shaped like a giant sunflower (the official flower of The Children's Institute); kids can control the water's flow by touching the controls or just rolling past in their wheelchairs
- A Sunflower Pavilion for relaxing in peaceful shade
- Raised planting beds that will allow kids to learn about gardening as they develop fine motor and speech/language skills
- Plenty of benches where adults and children can rest and relax—including a special bench that surprises those who sit on it with pleasant recorded sounds
- Flowers, shrubs and ornamental grasses with a variety of colors, textures, shapes and scents to generate interest throughout the year
The garden, with special nighttime lighting, also features extraordinary sculptures by Albert Guibara. This world-renowned California artist designed the Sunflower Pavilion, the Children's Wishing Well, and the whimsical and entertaining pieces scattered about the garden.
The therapeutic garden is a multi-sensory experience, designed to appeal to sight, hearing, smell and touch, and it was created with major input from children, parents and staff. Kids wanted plants that would attract birds and butterflies. They wanted not only a treehouse and a fountain, but to be able to touch the water. Parents loved the idea of getting their kids outside—in a gentler space than the facility's more active playground—and they themselves wanted to be able to reflect and unwind in a quiet atmosphere, away from indoor distractions. All those desires—and more—are satisfied by the new garden.
David K. Miles, President and CEO of The Children's Institute, said, "The garden provides a wide range of benefits. For young patients at our Hospital and students at our Day School, growing flowers and herbs will be fun, and can be integrated into schoolwork and physical, occupational and speech/language therapies. Parents can enjoy the garden with their children, or relax and restore their spirits in privacy. And our neighbors will be welcome, just as they are at our playground."
Honoring parents with a special gift
The garden, which stretches along the Shady Avenue side of The Children's Institute's facility, was created by Christine Astorino and her colleagues at New Dawn Garden Design in Pittsburgh. The garden was made possible through a million-dollar grant from the Nimick Forbesway Foundation, whose trustees are the three adult children of the late Florence and Thomas Nimick: Kit Nimick Carrasco of Aspinwall, PA, Victoria Nimick Enright of Madison, WI, and Charles L.H. Nimick of Great Falls, VA.
Florence Nimick was a long-time member of the Board of Directors, and three-term Board President, of The Children's Institute. When she died in 1981, her husband Thomas Nimick, a member of the Men's Advisory Board, became the first man to be asked to join the organization's active Board. He continued his service on the Associate Board of The Children's Institute until his death in 2007.
Kit Nimick Carrasco noted, "We are proud to honor our parents in this way—and we believe that, if they were here, they would have made this gift themselves. The Children's Institute was a great mutual interest for them, so much so that the three of us practically grew up there.
"So my brother and sister and I know what The Children's Institute means to children and families—and we believe that, as the garden is nurtured, it will nurture the people who spend time in it."
F. Brooks Robinson, Jr., a member of the Board of Directors, commented, "This is a remarkable gift from a family that has for decades been strongly supportive of this amazing organization."
Kennametal Foundation, based in Latrobe, PA, is the first corporate donor to The Nimick Family Therapeutic Garden. The Foundation has underwritten one of the two children's gardens, which feature raised planting beds for children with mobility challenges. Kennametal is the world's premier maker of top-quality metalcutting, mining and construction tooling systems. The company and its foundation believe in pairing financial support with volunteerism, and will actively work to help the children make the garden thrive.
Florence Nightingale understood
Therapeutic gardens have become popular in recent years, but their benefits have long been realized. In 1859, legendary nurse Florence Nightingale wrote that "a variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients are an actual means of recovery." Recent research has shown that, after spending time in a hospital garden, 95% of respondents reported positive changes in mood. Other literature shows that gardens are very likely to reduce stress, and likely to reduce pain and depression.
Those are among the reasons The Children's Institute David K. Miles says, "We're excited about this extraordinary addition to our community."
SOURCE The Children's Institute