New Hope for Kids Backyard and Garden

New Hope for Kids Backyard and Garden Overview

Maitland, FL

GAI’s Community Solutions Group collaborated with New Hope for Kids, a nonprofit grief counseling center that serves children ages 3–19, to bring a new Backyard and Garden to this important place of healing. New Hope operates the ‘Center for Grieving Children” and ‘Wish for Kids’ to help families navigate some of life’s most difficult challenges, including terminal illness and death of a parent. The New Hope facility was lacking an outdoor activity area, and had limited space to develop a playground. The existing site plan was a basic building pad surrounded by small areas of foundation planting and a perimeter parking bay.

The opportunity to assist with the outdoor play and garden area was brought to GAI through a member of the New Hope Board of Directors/Building Committee, who is also employed KTH Architects, Inc., a firm that GAI has partnered with on several projects in the City of Maitland. GAI’s team met with New Hope program leaders and board members to better understand the therapy and activity needs of the children and families enrolled in this grief counseling program. As a result of these conversations, GAI envisioned a ‘Backyard and Garden’ environment that could be accomplished by reconfiguring a portion of the parking into a hardscape play area and an enlarged softscape play area. The goal was to transform the existing site into a dynamic environment for individual and group activities for children of varying ages within an attractive, intimate setting using thoughtful, cost-effective interventions. The new Backyard and Garden features areas for gathering, active recreation, exploratory play, and a contemplative Garden Walk for quiet time, conversation, and placement of small memorials created by the children.

GAI donated its expertise to complete this work for New Hope for Kids in collaboration with New Hope and KTH staff. Other partners included The Collage Companies (contractor) and Rep Services, Inc., which donated two colorful landscape structures. The project involved extensive coordination with the City of Maitland and was funded primarily by community partners and grants, including Dr. Phillips Charities. Working within a limited site, New Hope now has an outdoor space that will serve as an extension of the center’s indoor activity space, creating a haven for kids who need it most.

Photo courtesy Chris Gillyard Photography Photo courtesy Chris Gillyard Photography

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