Proud to be From Pittsburgh: Community garden creating inclusion

Proud to be From Pittsburgh: Community garden creating inclusion

PITTSBURGH — A community garden is creating inclusion for people with mental illness, while reducing the stigma around such conditions. The Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse is making us proud to be from Pittsburgh.

The clubhouse is a place where adults whose lives have been disrupted by mental illness can come together to build social and vocational skills to help prepare them for meaningful lives.

One way they are growing their vocational skills is in garden, with its 15 raised beds.

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While COVID-19 disrupted many of their services, the garden is a important staple as it allows people to social distance while working on important skills. So far this year, the clubhouse members have produced more than 320 pounds of food which was donated to people in need.

Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse’s Horticulture Coordinator, Hayly Hoch, said they started in the garden before the shutdown.

“To be able to watch something that, you know, a project we started before our closure really thrive and flourish during this difficult time it’s given our clubhouse community a lot of hope, something to look forward to every time they visit,” said Hoch.

Clubhouse member Delaine Swearman said she and the other members really love getting to be outside.

“It’s all of the work that we do that gives people a sense of meaning and purpose and working side by side with other colleagues, so that we can build relationships with people,” said Swearman.

The Clubhouse Garden is also helping break the stigma of mental illness by having neighbors interact with the gardeners.

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