Events, THRIVEability Garden

STARability Celebrates Arbor Day at New Community Garden

The STARability Foundation and River Park Community Center celebrated Arbor Day on April 30 by showcasing a joint project called THRIVE*ability: A Community Garden Project. The celebration included tours of the garden, a tree planting and refreshments. Participants in STARability’s and River Park’s programs, donors and other supporters attended the ceremony.

STARability staff Halley Kretschmer and Jason Blount in the THRIVEability garden

Halley Kretschmer and Jason Blount

THRIVE*ability: A Community Garden Project started as a seed of an idea to revitalize River Park Community Center’s 2,000-square-foot garden, located at 301 11th St. N. in Naples. The garden will serve as a vehicle to teach critical life skills to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are enrolled in STARability’s community-based programs.

STARability’s new gardeners will learn communication, teambuilding, problem solving, job readiness and other life skills. Children enrolled in River Park’s programs will also help maintain the garden. Participants will grow various plants and flowers throughout the year, and excess fruits and vegetables will be donated to food-insecure residents who attend scheduled mobile pantries at the park.

“We’re very grateful to the City of Naples, River Park and our other partners who’ve made this project possible,” said Karen Govern, STARability Foundation Chief Executive Officer.

Naples Garden Club adding dirt to Arbor Day tree

Naples Garden Club

With raised garden beds and wheelchair-accessible paths, the garden will promote inclusion and accessibility through educational opportunities, events and other activities. For the park’s neighbors and nearby businesses, the garden will also serve as a learning site and a place to connect with nature.

🌱 The project is being made possible by the collaboration and support of key partners:

River Park Community Center and the City of NaplesAbbie Joan Fine Living, Autism Speaks, the Brooks & Joan Fortune Family Foundation, Connections for a Cause, ECHO Global Farm and Naples Garden Club