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Project 5: Volunteers build therapy garden for charity who treats children with trauma

The extra green space will be used by children who have been neglected or abused as they cope with the trauma.

ST. LOUIS — Project Five teamed up with Alberici Construction to build a therapy garden at a south St. Louis non-profit that protects and treats children who have experienced trauma.

Family Forward CEO Karen Nolte said she's seen the impact one experience has on a child's life.

"Intervening at an early age is absolutely critical," says the CEO.

If the trauma is not treated correctly, children could face social, physical, and intellectual hurdles down the line.

"Brains change as children experience trauma," Nolte said. “We are exceptionally good at assessing children on what to do in terms of therapy and when to do it and that makes all the difference in the world."

Volunteers are creating a mulch walk path, sand and dirt boxes, planting flowers, and installing a swing. Alberici Construction combined efforts with Five On Your Side to send volunteers who were ready to roll up their sleeves and help.

"It's our duty to give back to the community," Earl Ming of Alberici Construction said. “This is the community that we work in that allows us to have the lives that we have. We want to give back and make this community a better place not only for our lives but the lives after us."

Even though Ming was off the clock, he enjoyed spending time with Alberici colleagues who share his passion to help.

Many of the children who have been abused, neglected or battle trauma don't have access to a park. Nolte and staff hope their little green escape propels at-risk kids towards future success.

Nolte adds, "In the same way we are seeking to walk with kids along a journey of hope and healing, they have the same opportunity when they plant a seed in the ground and watch what they can do."

Garcia Properties, Missouri Botanical Garden, Zimmerman Sensory Garden, Pretty City Gardens and Landscapes, Greenspaces Nursery all helped make this project possible.