A serene and colorful children's memorial garden brimming with flowers is taking root at Hospice of the Chesapeake's John & Cathy Belcher Campus.
Designed for grieving children and families who have lost a child, the garden will offer a wildflower meadow and woodland area, complete with stone benches, terraces, art installations, swings and a winding circular path.
The garden's creator, Kevin Campion, founder of Campion Hruby Landscape Architects, became acquainted with Hospice of the Chesapeake when he was chosen to design the garden at the facility's Inpatient Care Center.
Last summer, Campion was approached by Hospice of the Chesapeake to design a children's memorial garden.
He launched a design competition in his office. The result is a combined effort from several landscape architects who focused on the concept of loss and mourning as well as healing "rituals."
To help facilitate the garden as an active healing tool, the firm added "ritual" touches such as swings, chimes, and a space for casting red flower seeds into the meadow.
"(The rituals are) an ephemeral way of participating in the garden, and hopefully healing," Campion said.
The firm reached out to local landscape companies. They asked each company for help with a singular item such as masonry work, irrigation or vegetation. He says most businesses were happy to help.
"Everybody contributed...it was easy," he said.
The memorial garden is nearing completion; 30 volunteers descended upon the garden June 9 to help plant 2,500 flowers and vegetation.
The garden is scheduled to be completed soon with the culmination being the addition of colorful swings and metal sculptures created by local artists.
Chief Advancement Officer Shauna Chabot said the tranquil garden is "meant to inspire healing for children..and is equally inspiring for adults, as well."
Chabot says the idea for the children's memorial garden was proposed a few years ago by a group of volunteers during the initial planning of the John & Cathy Belcher Campus, 90 Ritchie Hwy.
"We always knew we wanted to have a children's garden," she said.
The garden is located on the north side of the campus, across the driveway from of the Inpatient Care Center. The area was previously partially wooded, however it was cleared of dead trees and brush in anticipation of the sanctuary.
Chabot believes families who have an opportunity to walk through the garden will appreciate the efforts Campion has made to create a place for them.
A Pediatric Memorial Remembrance event and garden dedication will be held at the memorial garden 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on June 23.
Campion says he was honored to be part of this important project.
"I have two children...they mean the world to me," he said. "When we were asked to do this, we thought 'of course we'll do this.' We didn't even think twice about it.”
For more information about Hospice of the Chesapeake, visit hospicechesapeake.org.
Following a thorough GPA tally, Northeast High School selected a salutatorian for the class of 2018 — Jayda Griffin. The 17-year-old’s weighted GPA is 4.39.
During her four years at the school, she was involved in field hockey, track and field, National Honor Society, and Students Against Destructive Decisions club, which helps educate students about the negative effects of drugs and alcohol. She was also a "stat girl" for the wrestling team, cleaning wrestling mats and uniforms, and keeping score during matches.
She plans to attend the University of Wisconsin, Madison and major in psychology and social work.
"I always have found joy in helping others with whatever situations they encounter in life," she said.
Griffin said she will miss Northeast’s "the teaching staff as well as the athletics."
St. Jane Frances Church, 8513 St. Jane Dr., is hosting a blood drive 8 a.m.-2 p.m. June 24. The entrance for the drive is located in the school hall.
All blood drive participants will be treated to a free breakfast or lunch. Breakfast is held 8-11:45 a.m. Lunch is 11:45 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Walk-in's are welcome. To make an appointment, call Maureen Graleski at 410-980-2926.
Pasadena Sportfishing Group will hold a kid's fishing derby 7:30-11:30 a.m. June 30 at Fort Smallwood Park, 9500 Fort Smallwood Road.
Children ages 4- to 13-years-old are welcome to participate. Attendees will be organized into two age groups, 4- to 8-year-olds and 9- to 13-year-olds. Children who catch the three largest fish in each category will receive a prize.
Children do not need a fishing license, but they must have their own rod, reel and tackle. Free worms will be supplied by Fishbones Bait & Tackle. All fish must be caught on hook and line, no treble hooks are allowed.
Participants receive free entry to the park 7:30-8:15 a.m. on event day.
Pre-registration is required before June 26, no walk-ins. Cost is $5, which will be returned on the day of the event. To register, visit www.pasadenasportfishing.com or call 410-439-3474.
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