Edelman Gardens has, in many ways, become a beacon of light here at the Seeing Hand Association. The lovely gardens took the place of an old, reclaimed lot in Wheeling, breathing life and color into the area once again. Established in 2014, the lot was generously donated to SHA by Aaron and Rhonda Edelman with the dream of it being developed into an urban garden.
With a lot of hard work and commitment, that dream has been realized! Edelman Garden now serves as a hub for blind and seeing impaired volunteers to gather, garden, and produce food for the community.
Helping the Whole Community, One Plant at a Time
The Edelman Garden has become a fixture in our community. We offer fulfilling volunteer positions to our clients, giving them the opportunity to work together towards a common goal.
Our blind and seeing impaired friends are then able to give back to the community in a unique way. The vegetables that are harvested from the garden are donated to the workers and over 100 families each year. It’s a meaningful, win-win-win project!
Some of our beautiful offerings from the garden include tomatoes, corn, zucchini, peppers, squash, and kohlrabi.
Soon our workers will begin selling the produce to the public. Come by on Thursday afternoons to get some fresh veggies and support a worthwhile cause! Anything we don’t sell during this time can be found on our front step for whoever may need it for free.
Cultivating Hobbies for the Blind and Seeing-Impaired
Hobbies allow us to feed our souls, feel a sense of accomplishment, and fill our lives with joy and pleasure. When you face adversity in life, such as being blind or seeing impaired, hobbies become a life-line.
We’re thrilled that our gardens have given our friends an opportunity to take a leadership role in something they enjoy doing.
Benefits of Working in Edelman Garden
Other than surrounding themselves with the sounds and smells of summer, there are a ton of positive aspects of working in the gardens for the blind and seeing impaired.
- Getting outside for fresh air helps people overcome any limiting beliefs that come with sight loss. Being outside and productive allows them to expand their horizons.
- The gardens offer the workers a safe space to get their bodies moving as they plant, water, and turn the soil.
- Having the ability to create and produce brings immense pride to the workers. From seeding to harvest, our friends get to be present as their hard work pays off. Some of the workers have even entered produce in Ohio County Fair competitions — and taken home ribbons!
- Working as part of a team builds self-esteem. And having a purposeful place to bond with peers helps build a sense of camaraderie.
- Planting, pruning, and harvesting all help the blind and seeing impaired work on their fine motor skills. These skills help build physical awareness and confidence. Plus, they assist in the development of other skills like reading braille and writing.
Here’s What Our Gardeners Have to Say:
With the summer season in full swing, we had a chance to chat with a few of our gardeners about their experiences. It’s obvious that this work is meaningful to them. Check out their perspective and insight into the wonderful world of gardening!
SHA: What does having this hobby mean to you?
Mark: It’s a great experience getting to see things grow.
SHA: How has gardening impacted your life?
Bianca: I ate more cabbage in the last 4 weeks than I have in my entire life, go greens!
SHA: What do you like most about working in the garden?
John: I like to get to work outside.
SHA: Who have you connected with while working in the garden?
John: I like working with JJ (one of the volunteers). We work as a team.
SHA: What does gardening mean to you?
Debbie: I love coming to the garden and getting to be outdoors.
SHA: What is the most positive aspect of the garden?
Everyone: Getting to work with Meredith and Paula!