Therapy Through the Chicago Botanic Garden
With the hustle and bustle of everyday activities, wouldn’t it be nice to just take a break from it all and enjoy the outdoors? Being a part of our Veteran community, we understand that not everyone will find relief in the same therapeutic treatments. This is what lead fellow Chicago Veterans member, Juan Cornejo from the Chicago Botanic Garden, to reach out to Chicago Veterans with an invitation to explore his work. The Chicago Botanic Garden and Juan wanted to provide veterans with an exclusive personal tour and get a first-hand experience with some of the exhibits. Thanks to their generosity, four Chicago Veterans members from our community were able to experience the great outdoors in a way many people have never experienced before.
The trip included riding the motor tram through the gardens with stops throughout different areas to learn about the different wildlife that the Botanical Garden cares for and grows. Chicago Veterans were provided with an opportunity for healing, stress reduction, physical exercise, and endless learning. The Chicago Botanic Garden professionals encourage Veterans to engage with elements of the plant world in a planned, individualized, and expertly directed manner.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is known for its Horticultural Therapy Services. The Garden is a world leader in providing therapeutic horticulture experiences to visitors. Their horticultural therapy department also offers certificate programs for special-education personnel, health care providers, administrators, and landscape professionals. These programs explore the multiple health benefits that are available in nature.
Juan being a Veteran and now an employee at the Botanical Garden was able to share with Chicago Veterans members how working with the plants have helped him with his own personal journey for growth and recovery. What started out as an internship for him through Chicago Veterans became his full-time relief. Juan is now a full-time employee with the Chicago Botanic Gardens and is currently working with them to continue providing smaller more intimate tours to Chicago Veterans in hopes of helping other veterans heal through the Botanic Gardens as he currently has.
Through Chicago Veterans Social and Community Involvement Program, we focus on engaging our veterans in several ways to help improve their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Chicago Veterans is constantly looking for alternative therapeutic treatments and ways to better oneself in the process. “Chicago Veterans has introduced me to many different forms of treatment that I didn’t even know existed. These alternative forms of therapy have truly helped my transition,” said Nestor Zavala, a Chicago Veterans member. If you are interested in participating in these types of outings or have an idea of one, please reach out to us firstname.lastname@example.org.