The Horticulture Therapy Program at Bethesda Children’s Home provides youth with an opportunity to work cooperatively with other youth in a team building environment while learning new skills and information. Skills learned in gardening activities are transferable to other settings and offer the experience of success, which reinforces a sense of mastery and heightened self-esteem.
Bethesda Farms was established in March 2004 as a therapeutic horticulture component of treatment at Bethesda Children’s Home. Through a utilization study done by Bethesda in 2004, it was determined that a portion of the 360 acres owned by Bethesda could be utilized to help kids learn horticulture and agriculture skills in a way that would be meaningful for their treatment. Bethesda’s main campus in Meadville was originally established in 1919 as a working farm and orphanage for children.
Through a hands-on approach to learning and therapy, clients who participate in the Horticulture Therapy Program at Bethesda Children’s Home experience the responsibility of caring for and nurturing plants in a fully functional greenhouse and through the use of individual gardens. Horticulture Therapy in the United States has been proven to be effective in treating a multitude of disorders for a number of different age populations.