The healing garden at Sojourner Truth's House of Hope, Williamsport, Pa.

Williamsport, Pa. – How is a healing garden different from a regular garden? Experts say that immersing yourself in nature has positive effects. 

According to a study by the University of Minnesota, 95% of people interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside; that they noticed a change from feeling depressed, stressed, and anxious, to a more calm and balanced mood.

Any garden or outdoor space can inspire those feelings.

A "healing garden" is a landscape specifically offered at hospitals or healthcare facilities to help improve health outcomes, serving as a place of refuge and peace. 

UPMC, and Sojourner Truth Ministries in Williamsport have partnered to offer residents of the House of Hope access to a new healing garden designed for improving physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

“UPMC is an integral part of the communities that we serve, and we contribute in so many ways other than just the care and services offered at our facilities,” said Patti Jackson-Gehris, vice president, Strategy & Business Development, UPMC in NorthCentral Pa.


From left to right, Patti Jackson-Gehris, vice president of Strategy & Business Development, UPMC in North Central Pa.; Pamela Temons, supervisor, Sojourner House of Hope; Stan Cary, community outreach specialist, UPMC in North Central Pa.; and Rev. Angelique Labadie, director, Sojourner Truth Ministries.

“We understand that for the communities we serve to thrive, we need to work together to address the needs of our neighbors, friends, and families," she continued. "Partnerships, like this one with Sojourner Truth Ministries, are essential to support necessary services in the community as well as improve the quality of life in our region.”

The Sojourner House of Hope offers temporary housing to 12 residents facing homelessness, and provides them with support during their transition.

The holistic program integrates spiritual healing, counseling, life-skill development, mentoring, relationship building, budget coaching, and work readiness.

“This beautiful space is full of flowers and plants creating a calm, safe and quiet area for residents to gather as a group or for individual reflection,” said Pamela Temons, supervisor, Sojourner House of Hope.

“It not only encourages healing and improves the lives of the residents, but also improves the quality and beauty of the neighborhood. We look forward to the next phase of our garden which will include a gazebo, outdoor dining space, and a water feature. We greatly appreciate UPMC’s contribution and support," Temons said in conclusion.

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