Cultivating Community is Cultivating Kindness
What is this video about?
Cultivating Kindness is the story behind Opportunity Landing, a non-profit society dedicated to developing and maintaining a space for inclusive, accessible community gardens in Langley BC.
Juliet Henderson-Rahbar, is a board member of the BC Brain Injury Association, and the Leader for Connect Communities in Langley—a place where people who’ve survived a life-altering brain injury can begin to redesign their lives in the community. Earlier this year, Juliet came across an article on Opportunity landing in the Langley Advance Times https://www.langleyadvancetimes.com/news/new-langley-community-garden-gets-test-run-this-spring-at-twu/.
After seeing the design and the nearby location, Juliet knew this inclusive, outdoor space accessible to the people supported at CONNECT would be a tremendous opportunity. Like everyone else, CONNECT had just completed the first year of the pandemic. Everything was still in a semi-lockdown state.
Juliet cut out the article and placed it on her home office desk. A few weeks later, she saw a Facebook post promoting Opportunity Langley and thought, “Now is my opportunity to connect with these people!” The people CONNECT support had been even more restricted than the average person because they live in a congregate setting. Juliet understood this would be a wonderful opportunity for them to meet up with others at the community gardens while participating in gardening, which is inherently life-giving work.
The Kreiter Family
When Juliet first reached out to Janet Kreiter, she did not know their family had journeyed through brain injury. But as they chatted, and she listened to their story, she discovered two members of their family had survived brain injuries within the last few years. Their story was unusual, as it gave insight into the compounding effects of brain injury on an existing disability. Erin, a former medical researcher at TWU, has myasthenia gravis, a rare neurological condition which has led to the requirements of a ventilator and wheelchair. This was a story unlike ones shared before—one Juliet knew would be important for others to hear.
That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. But the news wasn’t all good. The family shared with Juliet that they would only have access to the TWU location for one year. Then they would have sixty boxes and nowhere to go. She thought: “We cannot lose these gardens—not after all the effort they put into creating them for families like theirs, for folks like us, anyone else needing more access to gardening or community inclusion.
Juliet was delighted to find that the gardens made a significant impact not only on the people CONNECT support, but for the staff as well. A staff member who lives nearby was asked if she would mind watering the gardens on Thursday mornings. She did it as a favour at first, but afterwards she said it was so refreshing she wanted to do it every Friday as well.
Juliet and CONNECT want others to experience that impact, and so they are sharing the story just as much for their benefit—and yours—as they are for the Kreiter family to find a permanent space for the gardens in Langley, BC.
For more information, or to share an idea on where to relocate the garden, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.