SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- A woman and a young girl are late summer chatting as they work in the garden, watering the plants and picking ripe vegetables on a sparkling late summer afternoon.  The woman is Rosa Gomez, LAC, CFC, a counselor at Resolve Community Counseling Center.  She and her companion are engaged in horticultural therapy, a recent initiative at Resolve Counseling to engage children in caring for another living thing. 

Ms. Gomez was inspired to start the garden as a way of helping children develop and expand life skills such as patience, perseverance and nurturing. She chose horticultural therapy as a way of giving children some control and power over their lives and helping them establish a sense of responsibility.  

"Each child took a tomato plant home, which engaged the entire family in the process and gave the children a chance to gain positive attention," Rosa Gomez explains. "As the children participate in gardening tasks, they learn responsibility and how to work collaboratively with others. They gain a sense of purpose and empowerment, especially now that they see the zucchini, squash, watermelons, tomatoes and flowers they planted thriving and producing fruit. …. When the children are working in the garden, I see a visible difference in their moods and improvements in their attention and ability to focus.”

Ms. Gomez is a member of the dedicated professional staff at Resolve Community Counseling Center, a private, non-profit community mental health center, serving children, adults and families of Union County for over 40 years. Resolve is committed to making mental health care available to all.  We have reasonable sliding scale fees, accept Medicaid as full payment and will work with private insurance.   Resolve is located at 1830 Front Street, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076 in the historic Hamilton House.  Contact Resolve at 908-322-9180, resolveccc@aol.com or www.ResolveNJ.com.