Colorado has always been a great source of pride for me. I am a native of this beautiful state and find its natural environment therapeutic. Despite moving out of state for school or work, I often found myself returning to my home state. I knew I would eventually settle here as I envisioned my future. I had dreams of having a family; taking my children hiking on Mount Evans, exploring the banks of the great Grand Lake and camping in Rocky Mountain National Park. However, five years ago my dreams suffered a set-back when my daughter Marley was born with Down syndrome and developed pulmonary hypertension. As a result, her medical condition prevents us from traveling into the mountains and taking advantage of all Colorado has to offer.
It wasn't until last year when I discovered the Mordecai Children's Garden that I realized my dream wasn’t completely gone. In fact, my daughter is now able to discover and learn about Colorado's native plants and landscape in an innovative way. In a three acre urban setting, Marley can experience the feeling of being in the middle of large pine trees in Mist'ery Forest and explore life along Pipsqueak Pond. She can even hike the Fourteener Range all the way to Marmot Mountain! Although, we haven’t braved it yet, we are excited to participate in next year’s Cottonwood Campout, giving her the full experience of sleeping under the stars. In addition to her being able to safely explore the Children’s Garden, staff and volunteers frequently provide activities that allow her to learn at her own pace, while being challenged by the other children playing in the garden.
I want this enriching environment to continue not only for my daughter, but for all children, regardless of their abilities. My new vision is that this important resource continues well into the future. This garden has its own therapeutic element for both my daughter and me as I watch her roam and explore, just like I dreamed she would.
Now my family has the chance to be a part of its permanence thanks to a limited-time opportunity by the Mordecai Children’s Garden Leadership Circle and the Daniel and Janet Mordecai Foundation. My gift to its endowment will now be matched 3:1, ensuring this garden’s longevity and my daughter’s legacy will live on in the garden on the new donor trellis. Won’t you consider a gift to the Mordecai Children’s Garden Endowment challenge before it ends on November 30th and witness for yourself why we all should continue to take pride in this wonderful community and its natural resources, while leaving your own family legacy!
This blog post was written by Tonya Yada Kelly, former employee of Denver Botanic Gardens.