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Garden to Table Bounty


The staff at Idylwood Care Center is always looking for new ways to support the well-being of their residents.  Recently, Dietary and Occupational Therapy staff and interns came together to design and launch the Garden to Table program.  This program guides residents in the gardening of seasonal vegetables and herbs, provides education on plants, promotes physical activity, encourages healthful nutrition and supports emotional and mental well-being.

The daily schedule for the program begins with staff sharing with residents a variety of information on nutrition, food basics and overall health and well-being strategies.  Next they demonstrate how-to gardening fundamentals such as weeding, watering, pruning and harvesting. In addition to working in the garden, residents are also encouraged to walk through the garden and get moderate sun exposure during sitting breaks. This give them an opportunity to enjoy the garden, while increasing their Vitamin D levels through sun exposure, which helps with calcium absorption to improve bone density and maintain muscle and nerve function.

Residents are also involved from the beginning in the preparation of the garden by helping to choose what types of vegetables to plant such as peppers, basil and tomatoes.  When it is time to harvest the vegetables and herbs, residents are able to help choose a favorite recipe to use them in, so they can enjoy first-hand the delicious benefit of what they have grown.

The Garden to Table program has been successful in helping residents to increase their group participation and peer interaction; improve their overall well-being and fitness by increasing strength and dexterity; increase their moderate sun exposure time and Vitamin D levels; and improve their weight management and lab levels.

The facility plans to expand their Garden to Table program by having Dietary and Occupational Therapy interns and staff collaborate with residents to create new recipes for what they have grown and also donate a part of their garden produce to local community outreach programs. By sharing their garden bounty with the community, the hopes are that the residents will feel a sense of accomplishment and empowerment that they are making a difference in other people’s lives. With all of these amazing benefits, the Garden to Table program is having an overall positive effect on the mind, body and spirit of the residents at Idylwood Care Center.

Contributed by: Sandy Narasimhan MS,RD,CSG
and Rashmi Rajadhyax PD,OTR/L

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Transformation – One person, one program, one community at a time.



The day Crestwood Behavioral Health opened the Kingsburg Healing Center was one of those beautiful moments of transformation. We spend much of our lives working with people and ourselves on transformation, it could be changing a small behavior or a big one, and it may mean adding an exercise routine, revising a Recovery Service Plan, or helping a person find a job.  Transformation may also be seen in the developing of a new program, which was the central theme in the opening our Kingsburg Healing Center.

Transformation for Kingsburg Healing Center began with rehabilitating an old building that had been vacant and lifeless for decades, into a beautiful, warm, welcoming facility. It involved designing a new program that incorporates all of our recovery services such as Homelike Environments, Mind, Body, and Spirit Wellness, Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Trauma-Informed Approaches.  The development of the Kingsburg Healing Center also gave us a chance to get to know the neighbors and community leaders and to start becoming part of such a wonderful community.

Opening week for our Kingsburg Healing Center was very exciting and included an Open House on January 27, where community leaders and neighbors were welcomed in to tour the newly transformed facility and meet the staff. The event began by a warm blessing from Father Gregory, from the Holy Family Parish.  Kingsburg Mayor, Bruce Blayney, then provided opening words and other local community leaders such as Kingsburg District Hospital Board Members Glenn Snyder, Robert Johnson and Arlie Rogers, as well as Kingsburg City Manager, Alex Henderson also added their own words of welcome. Dawan Utecht, Director of Fresno County Behavioral Health, shared her kind words with the group.  Many other community leaders were also in attendance such as City Council Members Staci Smith and Michelle Roman; Chief of Police Neil Dadian; and Steve Safarjian, local broker/owner of RPS Real Estate.

The Open House was a great success with more than 200 community members attending.  One Kingsburg citizen, Mrs. Johnson, commented, “Thank you so much for letting us tour the facility.  Crestwood has done an amazing job transforming the old Hospital.  My husband and I are excited to leave here and tell all our friends what the facility looks like and what we learned from the tour.”  And another Kingsburg citizen, Mr. Lopez, said, “Your staff was so nice and gave us a lot of great information about the facility during our tour.   Thank you for giving the community a chance to see for ourselves all the hard work that has gone into the building and understanding what your company stands for.”

So one week later on February 1st, after two years of planning, challenges, hearings and a lot of hard work, the Kingsburg Healing Center was ready to open for clients!  On that opening day it was a gift to have five clients who were warmly received in our welcome room; who sat watching our fish tank; who walked in our yard; who found a space for a quiet time in our serenity room; who shared in delicious homemade lasagna; and who  slept on new beautiful, comfortable beds. These five people were now on a journey to start their own recovery transformation.

Kingsburg Healing Center is not only a transformation of an old building into a beautiful new program; it also is the beginning transformation in the lives of our clients and their families.  “I want you to know that I think the Kingsburg Healing Center is such a loving and warm place.  It is a wonderful place for my daughter.  She is doing so much better now that she is here,” said one client’s mother. No longer will clients in Fresno County have to travel hundreds of miles for mental health services and no longer will their families have to make long trips to visit them. “I wish this place had been here sooner, it would have been nice to have our son here sooner.  Now that he is back in Fresno County we can see him anytime we want and we know it will help him get better,” said one client’s parents.  The transformations at Kingsburg Healing Center are just beginning.

Contributed by:
Patty Blum, PhD
Crestwood Vice President


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The Green Machine Leading the Way on Environmental Responsibility


Last year the California drought led to state mandates for businesses and households to cut back on water usage.  While many California homes and workplaces made eco-friendly changes simply because of these mandates, Crestwood Healing Center Pleasant Hill had just launched a major environmental responsibility project, aimed at reducing water and energy usage, increasing sustainability and limiting general waste.  Creating a facility team later dubbed the Green Machine, the project has, in less than a year, achieved much more than they could have ever hoped.

The environmental responsibility project developed out of recognition of the large amount of plastic cups that were being thrown away in the facility on a daily basis.  But the first and biggest priority for the Green Machine became water conservation, though the intention from the onset was not simply a response to the drought.  The team knew that to make real, sustainable change, it would be important to involve the entire facility community.  The project kicked off on Earth Day 2015, with the Green Machine providing educational presentations, giving out reusable water bottles to be used instead of disposable cups and with staff and clients making specific pledges on how they would be more environmentally conscious.

For water conservation, part of the work to be done centered on general maintenance and repair around the building.  The team identified leaks throughout the facility, and proceeded to replace and repair toilets and sinks, while also installing faucet aerators and water-efficient showerheads that were provided for free by the local water company.  Other water conservation efforts included education and awareness on how to reduce water usage when showering, shaving and brushing teeth.  One resident, James, who has helped lead the charge on water consciousness, said, “I try to conserve water by turning off the shower when soaping up and shampooing my hair.”  Ultimately due to all these water conservation efforts, the facility cut its water usage by a whopping 45% in 2015, which is 20% more than the statewide mandate!  A year after launching the environmental responsibility project, the facility has saved more than a million gallons of water and counting.

Additionally, the environmental responsibility project at the facility has focused on becoming more sustainable and reducing waste.  The facility has accomplished this through a composting project and by fixing a failing recycling system, as well as by creating Dreamcatchers Empowerment Network positions for clients to work in both composting and recycling.   The Green Machine also got clients involved in upcycling, a process in which materials that would otherwise be thrown out, such as plastic cups, are turned into new items, such as “flower” bouquets.


To reduce waste, the Green Machine decided that it must start with a new mindset around awareness on how much trash was being routinely created.  Part of the fix was changing practices, such as cleaning with rags instead of paper towels, while also placing a huge emphasis on using reusable items, such as reusable water bottles and shopping bags instead of disposable ones.  Frances, a resident who is one of the biggest supporters of the project, said, “I hang clothes in the window to dry so I don’t use electricity and I turn off the lights in my room and other rooms when no one is in there.”  The early results have included a $1,200 reduction in energy costs and saving 25,500 plastic cups that were normally used one time for water when taking medications and then thrown away.

Education has been one of the greatest tools the Green Machine has used to make change, and in addition to regular environmental events in the facility, they have begun making more of a difference outside the building as well.  One way is working alongside their partner organization, Putnam Clubhouse, a Contra Costa County community organization where adults with mental health issues go to build skills and make valuable connections.  The Green Machine and Putnam Clubhouse members are working together on a monthly cleanup of the Berkeley shoreline and so far have had 51 people involved making a positive impact on the community.

As the environmental responsibility project at Crestwood Healing Center Pleasant Hill looks at next steps after a year of massive accomplishments, the Green Machine is aiming at expanding their environmental practices to continue reducing the facility’s impact on the Earth, while ultimately getting the facility certified as a green business.  As the team celebrated the first year of the project on this year’s Earth Day on April 22nd, the Contra Costa Water District joined them in the festivities to recognize the huge successes in conservation.  With a little education, effort and care for the planet, the Green Machine hopes its message can inspire others to make a similar impact in their community for the environment.

Contributed by:
Travis Curran, Campus Administrator
Crestwood Healing Center Pleasant Hill


Chloe De Lancie, Project Coordinator
Crestwood Healing Center Pleasant Hill