Transitional Services Inc. (TSI) was celebrating 50 years of service in the community when the focus quickly changed to addressing the coronavirus pandemic. Day programs were required to suspend services. People served in TSI’s residential setting, Royer Group Home in East Liberty, had their daily routines significantly altered, with much more time spent at home. Along with ensuring the health and safety of staff and clients, TSI knew how important it was to maintain as many routines as possible and engage folks in things they could anticipate and enjoy.
With spring on the horizon, TSI’s amazing staff went to work continuing the annual tradition of planting a vegetable garden. Under the guidance of staff member Leslie Gales, Royer residents began the growing process by planting seeds in small containers. They tended to the seeds daily, providing the right amount of water and monitoring carefully to make sure they were getting adequate sunlight. In late May, the vegetables were transferred from their small pots to Royer’s outdoor garden, where the residents continue to handle the daily responsibilities of growing and harvesting the vegetables.
Everyone shared in the pride and satisfaction of preparing wonderful meals using the vegetables from the garden. Not only do folks get to enjoy the fruits (or in this case, vegetables) of their labor, the experience fostered responsibility, teamwork, social skills, commitment and most importantly, fun. In this time of uncertainty, it is important to keep a sense of routine while ensuring that the people TSI serves are safe, happy and healthy. The garden project provided those living and working at Royer the opportunity to engage in meaningful and familiar activities which added to a sense of security during this difficult time.