Pappas Horticultural Center
Horticulture provides a recreational and vocational activity for people of all ages, abilities and needs. Plants inherently invite participation because they respond to care, they grow, and they change. Horticulture Therapy is a medium that blends those characteristics with the clinical benefit of improving social, psychological and physical well-being. Horticulture has proven to be an invaluable asset to many students at Perkins by providing leisure activities, sensory training, prevocational experiences and job opportunities. Perkins' interactive history with horticulture stretches back nearly a century. The annual student flower show is now entering its fourth year.
Dedicated on October 8, 2003, the Thomas and Bessie Pappas Horticulture Center was made possible by a generous grant from the Thomas and Bessie Pappas Charitable Foundations and 800 other donors. The 5,000 square foot center houses a resource library; three classrooms for planting, crafts production, and academic and science studies; a geothermal energy system; a large greenhouse; interactive water fountains; and a garden shop. All aspects of the Thomas and Bessie Pappas Horticulture Center are handicapped accessible. A geothermal energy system uses an existing 500 feet deep well as a pollution-free climate-control system to heat and cool the greenhouse.
In the greenhouse or the garden, as much as in any Perkins classroom, students display curiosity, courage and perseverance in the challenges they meet. The rewards are incalculable. Students have something new to look forward to each time they come to class. And children who often must depend on others gain pride and self-esteem from taking care of another living thing. This is a major part of what Perkins strives to develop in each of its students.
Perkins School for the Blind is grateful to everyone who has helped bring the benefits of horticulture to so many.
Read more about the benefits of gardening for people who are blind in the article, "Seeing with Other Senses: Gardens for the Blind."