Crisis Center seeks to build tranquility garden

Lake County Crisis Center is working at raising funds to build a survivors memorial garden, a place to provide peace and tranquility at its office.

Gloria Stringer, director of the Lake County Crisis Center, said there is currently no place for people who are suffering from violence to have a place where they can walk or sit in peace and quiet and away from the rest of the world. She said the garden, combined with a playground for children, will help make the Crisis Center a place where people can have a moment to take their mind off of the situation they are going through.

Most of the playground equipment is coming through grants from the Department of Justice and Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). Funds for the memorial garden Stringer has in store will mostly be raised through monetary donations. Even though it is called the Lake County Crisis Center, it does not receive funds through Lake County; it is an independent non-profit that receives grants from state and federal sources for operations and raises funds from the community for its programs.

Stringer said during a tour of the proposed memorial garden will be landscaped, and will connect to the Crisis Center’s current location. The garden itself will be dedicated to those who survive domestic violence.

“I have wanted to do something for years, we have a great space for the garden but just lacked for funds,” said Stringer.

In the back corner Stringer envisions a community garden, where those who wish to grow fruits and vegetables and are unable to do so where they currently live will have a place to do so.

The memorial garden, playground and community garden; are a part of the long term goal of turning the Crisis Center into a more welcoming place. Stringer said a GoFundMe has been started to raise funds for the memorial garden, and she wants it to be a tranquil place amongst all the noise of the world.

“From the beginning I always wanted a walking circle to provide a place of contemplation, and it came to me to have a memorial for everyone we have helped,” said Stringer.

The place will officially be called “Tranquility Place – For Esther.” Stringer said that Esther was a person who suffered from domestic violence and was murdered last year. She would not give out Esther’s last name. Stringer would only say that Esther grew up in Lakeview, but was murdered elsewhere.

“The garden will be important for survivors who do not have a green space, a place where they can have a moment’s peace especially during high anxiety and stressful situations,” said Stringer.

She said many clients the Crisis Center serves have limited resources and are often couch surfing with friends and relatives and many do not have a place where they can go outside, whether they are afraid of meeting someone they do not want to or lack the ability to leave. She describes the garden as a place for the clients to enjoy fresh air.

Once it is funded, the total cost is estimated to run about $5,000 and the fundraiser is asking for $3,500. Stringer envisions the space could have additional outdoor furniture and hold small events hosted by the Crisis Center, whether it is only for clients or open to the public. The amount of money raised will determine how much the project can move forward. Stringer is willing to do it in phases, though her preference would be to do all the work at once.

“I believe that this can be something that is both beautiful and grows over time,” said Stringer.

To donate via GoFundMe visit bit.ly/MemorialGarden1.

For more information about the Lake County Crisis Center call 541-947-2449 or visit lakecountycrisiscenter.org.

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