Green Space Revitalization
Why we build this space
In 2018, with support from Triangle Community Foundation and other donors, El Futuro launched Phase 1 of 3 phase to beautify the green space next to our Lakewood clinic and to preserve this natural space for therapeutic benefits and community vitality.
This outdoor therapeutic space will conserve and beautify the neighborhood’s open land through a community-centered design process that celebrates a rich and diverse Latino heritage with the incorporation of thoughtful design features and art installations.
We went to our patients, local businesses, and neighbors that consist of a large Mexican and El Salvadorian community, and asked, “What were play spaces like for you during your childhood?” What we heard was that they didn’t have big plastic playgrounds, rather they played in fields, trees, and streams! This resonated with us, because many of us were creek kids – spending hours playing in creeks and rivers.
How does this project relate to mental health?
Our intention is to create a space in which immigrant families, who too often feel excluded, isolated, or unwanted, can feel like they truly belong, are welcomed and included, and can contribute their best gifts in their new community. There’s an increased emphasis on the public health epidemic of loneliness. Studies demonstrate the negative mental and physical health impacts of our modern culture in the United States. Through beautifying the green space in intentional, therapeutic ways, we hope to cultivate a familial and communal environment. This has become even more essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through intentional design features, space is meant to mimic the look and feel of public plazas found in Central and South America, as well as agrarian regions that many immigrant families find familiar.
Are you interested in helping us maintain our garden and green space? Please visit our get involved page on how you could volunteer.
Tierra Firme: Design
Check out these local companies with whom we have partnered!
Bull City Brick & Restoration is a Latino-owned business that was founded on the principle of helping Bull City’s residents take on projects, regardless of the size or task.
Tributary strives to engage people with the outdoors by designing spaces that are ecologically diverse, culturally sensitive, and inherently interactive.
Hayley Cruz, AmeriCorps Community Engagement and Garden Coordinator
She was born and raised in Durham, NC, and went to Durham Public Schools all through high school. In elementary school she was part of a dual-immersion language program that included English and Spanish. Maiya went to Davidson College where she got her degree in Latin American Studies. While in college she had wonderful experiences studying abroad in Spain and the Dominican Republic as well as volunteering in Peru over a summer. She has volunteered with the local Latinx community working as an ESL tutor and has also taught Spanish at a summer camp and after school program in Chapel Hill, NC. She came to El Futuro to put passion into action by serving the Latinx community in her hometown and by getting to care for the green space and discovering and sharing new ways that it can have a positive impact on clients, the local community, and El Futuro staff. She enjoys spending time with her dogs, going for walks outdoors, taking care of plants, and cooking delicious vegan food.