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KC Hort pitches in to help Pay-It-Forward House

Landscape design students from Kishwaukee College’s horticulture program are drafting designs for the grounds at Pay-It-Forward House in Sycamore. Pay-It-Forward House is a nonprofit organization that provides a place of respite for families of patients at Kindred Hospital. Pictured are KC students at Pay-It-Forward house taking measurements and making notes with landscape design instructor Jim Knoll, second from left. Provided photo
Landscape design students from Kishwaukee College’s horticulture program are drafting designs for the grounds at Pay-It-Forward House in Sycamore. Pay-It-Forward House is a nonprofit organization that provides a place of respite for families of patients at Kindred Hospital. Pictured are KC students at Pay-It-Forward house taking measurements and making notes with landscape design instructor Jim Knoll, second from left. Provided photo

SYCAMORE - The Landscape Design students at Kishwaukee College are rolling up their sleeves to help put some beautiful foliage around Pay-It-Forward House. Pay-It-Forward House Executive Director Mary Lou Eubanks said, &#8221People staying at the house are under a lot of stress and having a well-designed landscape that incorporates an attitude of peace and respite is just a good idea.“ Trish Williams, Landscape Committee chair at Pay-It-Forward House, was the one who decided to contact the KC horticulture program. &#8221We don't have enough funding right now for a gardening budget, and I wanted to get the community involved,“ she said. &#8221I knew that Kish had a landscape design program, and I thought this would maybe be a good class project. I called Jim Knoll at Kish, and he agreed to make the project part of his curriculum.“ Knoll's landscape design classes have traditionally done the landscaping around KC's campus, including laying pavers for walkways, building stone retaining walls and creating unique all-season designs. Knoll decided to take on the Pay-It-Forward House project. His landscape design students spent a morning at the house looking at the existing plants, trees and structures. &#8221Pay-It-Forward House has requested a path, water feature and seating areas for privacy,“ he said. &#8221Providing screening views to adjacent property is also a priority. There are large overstory trees, and the planting environment is very shady.“ The requests Pay-It-Forward House made are a reflection of the charitable mission of the organization. Pay-It-Forward House is the realization of the efforts of Eubanks. Based on her own experience caring for hospital-bound family members, Eubanks wanted to provide a peaceful place of respite for families and friends of patients at Kindred Hospital. Kindred Hospital in Sycamore is a 69-bed acute-care hospital that provides specialized care (primarily ventilator-weaning, dialysis and wound treatment) for patients often too ill to be transferred to a nursing home or rehabilitation center. While a hospital stay is difficult for patients, it can be intensely stressful for their families and friends who want to provide support and encouragement, only to find themselves with nowhere to turn for comfort in an unknown town. Eubanks said, &#8221Often the families travel long distances to be with patients. Spending day after day in the hospital is so stressful. Pay-It-Forward House is a place where those families can get away for awhile and relax.“ Family members using Pay-It-Forward House can spend a few hours a day or stay overnight in one of the bedrooms at the house; families of patients who come to Pay-It-Forward House must be referred by a social worker or case manager at Kindred. Pay-It-Forward House is aptly named: The concept is one of repaying a good turn by doing a good deed in the future. Community members can join the chain of good deeds by helping at Pay-It-Forward House either by donating time, skills, supplies (everyday items like tissues, toilet paper, garbage bags, fragrance-free detergents, etc.) or financial support. Williams believes very strongly in community members helping as part of the &#8221pay-it-forward“ concept. &#8221The Kish students are donating the design,“ she said, &#8221and it would be great if small groups from the area or from local churches or schools came forward to adopt a small section of the garden, to provide the plants and provide basic upkeep. Blumen Gardens very generously provided plants last spring and landscaped the garden wall in the back. Helping with the gardens is a great way to donate something that is fun to do and will keep up the serene environment that these families need.“ Eubanks added, &#8221Pay-It-Forward House provides a change of pace for people who spend long hours in the hospital with their loved ones. To walk in a garden near some water in the fresh air is a wonderful way to soothe a soul.“ For more information on the KC Horticulture Program, call (815) 825-2086, Ext. 283 or visit www.kishwaukeecollege.edu. For more information on donating time, skill, needed household items or funds to Pay-It-Forward House, contact Eubanks at (815) 899-1106 or by e-mail at maryloueubanks@cs.com. Visit Pay-It-Forward House on the Web at www.payitforwardhouse.org.

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