Herbs, Perennials and Vegetables – Oh My!
Ozanam Annual “Thyme for Kids” Plant Sale April 29-30
By Lysa Allman-Baldwin
Celebrate “all things grown with love” at the annual Ozanam “Thyme for Kids” plant sale Friday, April 29 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, May 30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Held inside the Sims Greenhouse on Ozanam’s main campus off Holmes Road and 137th Street, the plant sale helps support the organization’s Horticultural Therapy Program. This integral, three-fold program provides its resident boys and girls with healing therapies in an al fresco classroom, a vocational work environment, and an opportunity to develop a sense of accomplishment watching their plants flourish.
The sale is so popular, people come from all over the metro area.
“We call it a “Friend-raiser” because our prices are low, and it’s the one time of the year the public can come out and meet the kids,” said Shelli Veatch, Special Events & Development Manager for Ozanam. “It also shows our kids how to nurture and grow living things from planting, to sprouting, to maturation, and how to apply it to their life and make a positive impact.”
During this free event, the public can chose from an array of indoor and outdoor greenery including herbs, vegetables, flowering baskets, annuals and perennials, ornamental grasses and more.
“Because of the stigma around behavioral health, we want to focus on the healing and learning that goes on and not labelling the kids as victims,” said Laurie Minx, Director of Communications. “The plant sale is a big part of this, because the kids can see how people care about what they’ve grown. I think they’re really invested in who buys their flowers!”
Every year, the Kansas City Young Matrons volunteer side-by-side with the kids, and there will be a large selection of baked goods made by the Ozanam kitchen staff for sale.
“Some customers say, ‘This is the best kept secret,’ but we say don’t keep it a secret!, said Minx.
Cultivating more than just plants
Just as spring yields outer growth in our gardens and yards, Ozanam cultivates inner growth for the approximately 76 boys and girls ages 12 to 18, that live on the 96-acre main campus as part of its Residential Treatment Program.
“We have a large campus, but it’s really a cozy and inviting mini-community for our families,” Minx said. “When people come here, they are surprised that we have a school, greenhouse, gyms, a pool, and other entities.”
Ozanam also offers programs and consultation services that directly serve over 200 daily and 500 annually at-risk youth with emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities throughout the Midwest region. This includes a family focus for children and their families, educational day treatment, a behavior intervention support team for schools, a pathways transitional living program for young adults, and professional mentoring for children living in foster care.
These program “seeds” have sprouted and flourished since Ozanam was founded in 1948 as a single-service agency. “We are not just a home for boys anymore,” said Veatch.
In 1998, Ozanam became a founding member of Cornerstones of Care, an organization designed to provide a variety of treatment options and support services to the community. It now consists of five agencies—Ozanam, Gillis, Marillac, Spofford, and Healthy Families—enabling them to combine resources to respond more effectively and efficiently to the ever-changing needs of children and families.
Volunteering is another important component at Ozanam. Community members can and have helped with landscaping, building picnic tables, painting the learning lab, and other campus projects.
Support also comes from several community partners through hygiene product and school supply drives, in addition to monetary donations from individuals, corporations and local family foundations.
“All of the support we receive allows us to provide a positive relationship opportunity for the kids to succeed, and to help with their healing from trauma and neglect,” said Veatch. “These are not bad kids. They are kids who have had bad things happen to them.”
Save the Date!
The public is also invited to participate in their annual “Ozanam Golf Classic: Putting kids on the right course,” Friday, May 13 at St. Andrews Golf Course. More information is available at ozanam.org/news-and-events/golf-classic.