The Boys and Girls Clubs of Monmouth County has launched its Wellness Garden, across the street from the club’s Asbury Park Unit on Monroe Avenue on land donated to the club by long-time supporter and club alum, Vince Gifford.
Douglas Eagles, CEO of the club, spoke passionately about the garden’s significance.
“The club is thrilled to share this beautiful space with the entire community,” he said. “Our long-term vision is to use this garden as an extension of the trauma-informed support we provide to our club kids, their families, and the community as a whole. In addition, we hope to continue partnering with local west-side artists to provide a venue to showcase their art.”
At the grand opening of the garden were staff and board members of the club, Asbury Park Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn; Asbury Park City Council members Yvonne Clayton and Eileen Chapman; Asbury Park Board of Education members Barbara Lesinski, Anthony Remy, and Jessie Ricks; Monmouth County Commissioner Ross Licitra; key stakeholders; funders of the project; and local musicians and artists who share a deep commitment to community enrichment.
The Wellness Garden will serve as a hub for numerous activities and programs aimed at promoting mental and physical well-being. BGCM plans to use the garden for yoga and meditation, nutritional education, art installations, and community gatherings that encourage residents to connect with nature and each other. Designed by landscape architect Eleanor James, the space also features the Jean Jaslovsky Memorial Garden, a serene and contemplative space that will memorialize individuals who embodied the values of the Club. The memorial garden is named in honor of Vince Gifford’s late wife.
Funding for the garden and for BGCM’s trauma-informed care initiatives was provided by Monmouth Cares; RWJBarnabas Health Foundation; Breath, Bread, and Blessings for Life Foundation; Appropriations through Congressman Frank Pallone’s office; County of Monmouth COVID-19 Community Recovery Grant Program; Impact 100 Jersey Coast; Monmouth Park Charity Fund; and Manasquan Bank.