Students from BYU Landscape Design Club, BYU Anti Human Trafficking Club, and the Landscape Management Program at BYU redesigned an area of the Dahlia’s Hope Therapeutic Animal Farm to create a healing garden for survivors. Volunteers donated labor and supplies, transforming a previously unusable area of the farm to make it functional and beautiful in two days of work! Volunteers also heard from founding survivor Faith, Senior Staff, and Founders at Dahlia’s Hope, who shared the inspiration for Dahlia’s Hope, what Dahlia’s Hope provides, and the types of healing that happen at the Therapeutic Animal Farm.
Hannah Boyce, who came up with this project idea, heard about Dahlia’s Hope through an event last year with the Anti Human Trafficking Club where Cherstyn Stockwell, Founding Board Member at Dahlia’s Hope, introduced the organization. Survivor Advocates with Dahlia’s Hope and staff also spoke, sharing their stories and expertise.
Hannah is passionate about fighting human trafficking and about plants and creating spaces through landscape design. One night she felt inspired to consider how she could combine these two passions and imagined creating a healing garden for survivors someday in her future. Several days later, the Landscape Design Club reached out to officers for project ideas. Hannah immediately reached out to Dahlia’s Hope and, within only a week, was sitting down with professor Greg Jolley to begin planning the project, considering what materials they could use and what they could accomplish in a day’s worth of work. As an officer in both the Anti Human Trafficking Club and Landscape Design Club at BYU, Hannah knows that human trafficking can be a heavy topic, but there are ample opportunities for those interested in making a difference to contribute through hard work. Hannah believes that opportunities to serve in a hands-on way, like this one, are exciting to students who want to have a positive impact on their communities by landscaping important spaces and fighting trafficking.
Students from the Landscape Design Club, Anti Human Trafficking Club, and students in the Landscape Management program at BYU came to participate with Hannah and Prof Jolley. Over 50 students came for a full day of volunteer work and about 15-20 returned for a day to put finishing touches on the project – in the middle of finals week! Professor Greg Jolley contributed his expertise by leading the project, which included bringing irrigation to the entire area, making multiple planning visits to the Therapeutic Animal Farm, and meetings with Dahlia’s Hope leadership to discuss survivor needs. Many of the students volunteering were practicing skills they had only studied for the first time, but worked with team leads to ensure that they met quality standards. Hannah hopes that “students feel like they were able to help make a small difference but a real difference in the community,” as she did. What was most exciting to her about this project was knowing that she would be leaving a mark on the community, making this project “honestly probably one of the most fulfilling things that [she has] done as a student at BYU”.
After hearing Founding survivor Faith speak to volunteers, explaining the purpose of the Therapeutic Animal Farm and the ways that Dahlia’s Hope facilitates healing in the lives of survivors, Hannah said, “It was really an honor to hear her and know that we were helping to create a space that would aid her and other survivors, I think it was really special to have her there and a unique experience for a lot of students. . . I always think it's super powerful to hear directly from survivors. No one else can really talk about the issue the way that they can or with the same power”. At the project completion, Hannah reflected on the whole experience, saying, “it's just really an honor and it's been a huge blessing to be able to do this and this has motivated me and helped me want to continue to be involved.”
The entire Dahlia's Hope team is incredibly grateful for all the contributions made by Professor Jolley, Hannah, and each student who participated in this project and thrilled to open this new, healing space to survivors.