Our beautiful State of New Jersey is extremely fortunate to have a thriving community of nonprofit agencies servicing the basic needs of families, individuals, children and elderly in our community. We have an amazing Children’s System of Care, practice trauma informed care on all levels, and have engaged in juvenile justice reform, all which other states model their programs after. We have been on the forefront of battling the opioid epidemic allowing opportunities for individuals to seek help without repercussion all the while still suffering the loss of so many of our young people who have aged out of our supportive systems and fall through the cracks.
Unfortunately as in most communities, our "transitioning youth" remain undeserved by programs that should provide high quality support, enrichment or education. Young people in less privileged households are often more susceptible to substance use, mental health challenges and criminal activity. Studies show that youth exposed to family risk factors such as poor family management, domestic violence, favorable parental attitudes towards alcohol and drugs, and high family conflict are more likely to use drugs. Sadly this could lead them down an unstable and life threatening path of drugs, crime and incarceration; a path that our founder has experienced first-hand with her own family, resulting in the creation of this life enriching program modeled after the international concept “Green Care”.
Green Care is a well-established international concept that uses animals, plants and nature in an interactive process to offer health-promoting activities for people. With this concept in mind our programs are designed to support transitioning young adults ages 18-28 re-integrating into society with mental health challenges, substance use challenges or from incarceration, those most often left behind.
Our programs utilize humane education within the following areas; agriculture, horticulture, arboriculture, animal care and other nature based areas. By encompassing these specific service areas and changing the role of the individual from service receiver to service assistant they build a sense of responsibility, self-efficacy, empathy and compassion as well as establish personal boundaries and most importantly teamwork and leadership skills.
Our philosophy is that if our at risk young adults youth are given chances to explore their natural strengths in a trauma informed, safe, nature-based environment caring for animals and plants while being mentored by caring adults, that those strengths will develop with a sense of responsibility and pride.
Young people whose trust has been shattered by negative life experiences are far more likely to succeed in a Green Care program because they are dealing directly with nature. Animals don’t ask questions, nature doesn't judge, and strong mentors never share confidential information. In a technology driven world, we have forgotten the simple concept that bringing recovery and nature together can be life changing.
Under the Green Care concept, we foster the connection between the coach, peer recovery support, the PATCH (the green company/organization), and the Participant in recovery. Green Care services complement the supply of public welfare services, while increasing the possibilities of success for individuals served.
Bringing Recovery and Nature Together
Patchwork Pastures vision is to support transitioning young adults ages 18 – 28 reintegrating into society from mental health, substance use or incarceration by creating collaborative partnerships with green care companies as a base for promoting recovery, reducing recidivism, increasing employability and quality of life through our Green Care Project initiative.