Executive Tasks: Stuart Perry Goes His Own Way
Although he’s the founder and executive director of our busy, growing center, Stuart Perry always takes time for the “little” moments. While many individuals in similar roles find their most comfortable spot to be behind a desk in the corner office, Stuart looks for opportunities each day to get out outside and to talk with peers. With the beautiful spring weather here, Stuart found the perfect moment for both recently.
Overseeing some work in the gardens, Stuart pulled weeds and chatted with peers and staff as they worked. Then spotting peer Willie Pryor, he walked down the hill for some one-on-one discussion. After a few minutes, a wide smile crossed Willie’s face.
“Mr. Willie and I have enjoyed much time together,” Stuart explained. “I only had to take a break to speak to him. We both parted with a smile.”
As a peer himself who went through his own journey of recovery, Stuart knows the value of taking moments to recharge and the importance of supporting other peers, side by side and face to face.
Weeding sunlit gardens and bringing smiles to others’ faces are apparently two critical duties on the job description of this “boss.” They would be nice additions to anyone’s!
10,000 Tab Tops and Counting!
On several occasions, we’ve shared with you the adventures of Kaylon Holt, one of our youngest peers at Perry Wellness Center. He is noted for his fine art work, the book he is creating, and his love of high school football.
Growing Together/Feeding the World
-- One Person at a Time
Perry Wellness Center has frequently used gardening as a tool to help our peers cope with and recover from mental illness and substance abuse. After all, researchers have found that gardening can significantly reduce stress and boost mood, encourage creative expression, and even promote overall brain health.
Each year the gardens and greenhouses on our growing campus have expanded, as peers embrace the garden experience and customers at the center’s Happy Patch Market look for fresh produce.This past summer several peer clients were even growing tomato plants in buckets at their homes, as gardening became a part of their at-home wellness programs.
After experiences such as these, staff came up with the idea of creating a community garden of raised bed gardens on campus. Peers could be taught to plant and harvest their own crops – an activity that would help cultivate both nutritional food and a healthful hobby.
To support the new project, application was made for a grant from Agrium, Inc.’s “Growing Together/Feed the World” community program. Agrium is a major retail supplier of agricultural products in North America, South America, and Australia, and a leading global producer and marketer of agricultural nutrients.
Results were successful, and officials from the local Agrium Wholesale Granulation Plant in Americus recentlypresented a check for the new project. But the local business’ involvement promises to be more than financial. Agrium representatives will also work closely with us by providing their expertise, education and physical labor as a part of the grant. They will help teach and assist interested peers with bed preparation, planting of their gardens, and proper fertilization, watering, and harvesting of the produce. Pest control, composting and growing of year- round crops will be practiced.
“We are so excited about what this program means for our peers,”said Phyllis Smith, who is the contact person on the Agrium project and our whole-health coach. “Most of our clients have never had a garden of their own. Having their own garden plots will give them a sense of ownership and enhance their self-esteem.” Phyllis believes that the project will also enhance peers’ sense of community, as they work side by side to grow their produce.
Another positive aspect of this project is that it will fit in extremely well with our new Whole Health Action Management (W.H.A.M.) initiative. This program promotes self-management of behavioral health problems and helps peers set personal recovery goals and strategies – which often relate to positive methods of reducing stress.
Stuart Perry, for one, is enthusiastic about the Growing Together/Feeding the World project and looks forward to working with yet another local business to promote wellness. Notes Stuart, “We appreciate this opportunity to ‘grow together’ with Agrium as we ‘feed the world’ one person at a time.”
Thanks, Agrium, for being a great neighbor and partner in our community!
"Spring Has Sprung" at Market
If you haven’t driven by our market and campus lately, please do so! The colors of spring are in full bloom, and the market is filled with a variety of potted plants and hanging baskets. We have also added small trees, such as dogwood and maple, to our inventory.
“Happy Patch Market is a bright a welcoming place,” agrees PWC founder Stuart Perry.
To celebrate the season, we’re offering a “Spring Has Sprung” special at the market. In selected plants throughout the market area, five (5) markers have been placed. If you bring a plant to our market desk, we will let you know if you have won a $25 GIFT CERTIFICATE that can be used with hanging baskets, potted plants, or produce.
Our special began yesterday, so hurry down to see if you can find one of the remaining markers!
In the photo above, James, Rhonda, and Kenneth display some of the latest market offerings.
James Goss Demonstrates Market Cheer & Dedication
As the weather continues to warm up, colorful hanging baskets and ferns are filling up the greenhouses and lots on our campus. We’re now in the process of re-potting plants that have outgrown their current pots or dividing and transplanting others. Our display and hanging spaces in our four greenhouses will soon be at capacity.
James Goss, a long-time peer at Perry Wellness Center, serves as a clerk at our market. His duties also include re-potting plants, which makes for busy spring days. James does not allow his partial reliance upon a mobile walker or wheelchair to slow him down, as he greets customers or mans his work station.
To enjoy warmer temperatures, James has found an arbor space near the market, where he greets customers as they arrive. Nearby lie the tools for his re-potting tasks, which include re-potting Verbena and ferns.
James’ dual mission is to share a smile with each customer and to re-pot a greater number of plants each day. Next time you’re at the market, see for yourself!