Laughter. Sunshine. Flowers. A birthday party for a child who has been in the hospital for months. The Bunny Mellon Healing Garden, dedicated to First Ladies of the United States, offers children, families and staff a peaceful place to breathe fresh air and renew their spirits.
Gifts from the Gerard B. Lambert Foundation, Heather and Andy Florance, CoStar Group and many other donors make this space possible.
It has hosted two weddings, a sunflower music festival, beach parties, winter lights celebrations, the Dunkin’ Prom and other special events.
“The natural environment provides a sense of life and hope,” says Angelica Bowman, the Healing Garden’s team lead activity coordinator.
Angelica joined Children’s National as a volunteer in 2015. “Growing up, I always wanted to help the kids and families in my community,” she says. She joined the staff in 2017 on the Child Life and Integrative Care Services team. In 2021, the hospital named her Employee of the Year. “I start every day by asking myself, ‘How can I make a child or family’s day better?’”
5 Ways Angelica Brightens Days
- Invites patients for outdoor free play, rock painting or snuggles with a facility dog
- Plots scavenger hunts
- Decorates a child’s hospital room with flower garlands and fairy lights
- Organizes open-air yoga and meditation
- Invites families to release butterflies and engage in other coping activities
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