NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The NJ Sharing Network began construction Wednesday of a “meditation garden” a landscaped area that will serve as a quiet place for both families of organ and tissue donors and for the organization’s employees.

The 8,200-square-foot garden is a project of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation and is being built by Landscape Techniques, Inc. of Nutley. The garden should be ready for use in the spring, said NJ Sharing Network Marketing and Communication Coordinator John Valentine.

Groundbreaking on the project took place Dec. 16.

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“Families touched by organ and tissue donation have supported our organization in so many ways and this meditation garden and the sanctuary it will provide is our way of thanking them,” said Elisse Glennon, the organization’s vice president and chief administrative officer.

In addition to serving as a peaceful place for thought and remembrance, the meditation garden will also serve as a place where the foundation will memorialize and honor people who raised money for the NJ Sharing Network.

“A portion of the funding needed to create the garden was raised by the NJ Sharing Network staff through our Employee Giving Campaign, an annual campaign where staff raises philanthropic dollars to support the NJ Sharing Network Foundation’s mission to provide education, research, public awareness and donor family support,” said the organization in a press release.

Planning for the garden began about a year ago, said Valentine. The site was designed by Muzi Li, a Rutgers University student pursuing a master’s degree in landscape architecture. According to the NJ Sharing Network, she received a student merit award from the state chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

“Our staff is committed to our life-saving mission,” said Joseph Roth, president and CEO of NJ Sharing Network. “They have not only helped to make this garden possible through the Employee Giving Campaign, but the idea actually originated with them.”