Courtesy Amy Selle

Courtesy Amy Selle, Cantata

A daughter of a Cantata Adult Life Services client is responsible for landing the not-for-profit organization a $25,000 donation toward the construction of a therapeutic garden on its Brookfield campus. The garden will be open to all of Cantata’s campus living clients as well as people of all ages from the local communities that Cantata serves.

Carole Walther, daughter of Cantata assisted living resident Lorraine Walther, is the Treasurer of the Virginia Lee Shirley Private Foundation in Chicago. When her mother explained to her why Cantata Adult Life Services was raising funds to create a therapeutic garden for clients and the community, Carole immediately felt that the project was a good match for the foundation, which gives to and supports a number of worthwhile, charitable causes each year. She presented the opportunity to the foundation’s board and they agreed.

“My mother is a passionate supporter of this effort by Cantata to create a space where clients and the community can connect with nature and each other in therapeutic ways. She has donated to the garden herself and asked me and my sisters to make donations for her birthday. When I presented this to the foundation, they were inspired by Cantata’s vision for this space,” says Walter.

“Even though our campus is surrounded by Forest Preserve property, accessibility to garden spaces is not ideal. This project will not only create a real therapeutic garden, but will also create new access points for assisted living residents and rehabilitation clients,” says Marti Hannon, Director of Life Enrichment for Cantata Adult Life Services and a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Hannon adds, “Lorraine Walther loves coming to any kind of gardening program we offer, and now she’s spreading that passion to others. We are so lucky to know her. And we are extremely grateful to the Virginia Lee Shirley Private Foundation and the Walther family for all they have done to help us get that much closer to realizing our dream garden space.”

The vision for the therapeutic garden includes accessible entry points, raised garden beds, covered areas for protecting against sun exposure, wheelchair accessible outdoor furniture, expanded plant variety, conscientious land use and enhanced landscape design. The garden will be open to Cantata clients and the community in a variety of ways, including classes that will be held in the space.

Cantata’s goal is to raise $250,000. As of March 1, 2013 they have raised $148,000. Those who donate $125 or more will receive a brick on the garden path that can be engraved with a personalized message.

To donate go to and look for the green “Help Our Garden Grow” button on the homepage, call 708-485-1155, or send a check payable to Cantata Adult Life Services attention Cantata Garden, 8700 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513.

The mission of Cantata Adult Life Services is to orchestrate innovative solutions, services and connections for adults and their families as they seek to achieve their best lives. Cantata knows that for many people, connecting to nature is a vital part of living one’s best life.

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