Shovels, wheelbarrows, saws, and hammers are the tools to build brighter futures for families in Lake County -- at least they were at Nicasa's Judy H. Fried Center Saturday, July 20.
Keith Brin, Lake County Clerk of the Circuit Court, and volunteers from his office joined Rogers Nursery in preparing a garden at Nicasa's North Chicago facility.
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Tricia's Garden -- named in honor of a former Nicasa employee -- will be an ongoing, positive activity for the men, women, and children at the center.
"There is nothing better than being able to give back," Brin said. "Being a part of the fiber of the Lake County community that we not only work in but live in is very important to me. I am very fortunate that I have a lot of people in my office who feel exactly the same way.
"These are people who, despite how busy their lives are, still want to help others. They're not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty … and, in this case, literally."
The day was hot and the work was heavy, manual labor -- cutting sod, building raised bed garden boxes from timbers, and moving compost and gravel, but the volunteer team stayed in good spirits under the supervision of Dan Rogers of Rogers Nursery in Lake Bluff.
Rogers consulted on the planning of the project and worked with his business contacts to get the needed materials and brought his equipment, employees, and experience on the day of the project.
"It is always important to give back. I get up every day feeling very fortunate. With the equipment and experience to help in a project like this one, I was happy to help," Rogers said.
The project consisted of cutting sod, building four 8-by-8-foot raised bed gardens filled with compost, and preparing a 4-by-20-foot herb garden. Timbers and materials for the garden were donated, in part, by Craftwood Lumber and Hardware of Highland Park. Compost was donated by Prairieland Services of Lake Barrington.
"This wouldn't have been possible without the incredible volunteers from Keith Brin's office and Rogers Nursery," said Bruce Johnson, CEO of Nicasa. "It's amazing what we can accomplish with shared resources and experience."
The volunteer project continued July 29 with planting of vegetables and herbs by the youth participating in Nicasa's Teen REACH after school program.
Nicasa is a not-for-profit behavioral health services organization helping to build brighter futures for vulnerable and at-risk children, adults, and families in Lake County and northern Illinois.
Founded in 1966, Nicasa's network of dedicated and caring professionals has been pioneering award-winning efforts in prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery.
Core services include substance abuse treatment programs, in-school and after school programs, family therapy, Teen Court, parent education classes, counseling, comprehensive women's services, and a residential recovery program.
For more information about Nicasa, visit www.nicasa.org.