The Nichols Center Families of Recovery has started a plant shop in downtown Douglasville to help support its efforts with people affected by substance use, mental health issues and suicide/overdose issues.

The plant shop is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Family of Recovery and Resource Center and Wellness Gardens & Plant Shop at 6534 Spring St. in Douglasville.

Tara Nichols, a local counselor, founded the Nichols Center about eight years ago. Her brother-in-law, Kirk Nichols, died from an accidental drug overdose in May of 2003. It was his death and other substance use in her family that led Nichols to starting the nonprofit.

She said the plants being sold will help raise money for the center.

“We focus on whole body wellness and building recovery practices to cultivate healing within the family unit,” Nichols said. “Our goal is to provide meaningful family support for those who have been affected by substance use disorder, mental health, or suicide/overdose. Our gardens serve as a way to engage families in the practice of wellness and learning to nurture healthy habits. The organic approach to gardening allows the family unit to learn mindfulness and recovery in a holistic method. Through the growing of plants we are able to strengthen families both the knowledge of healthy practices and the confidence to engage life meaningfully.”

She added that gardening is a “powerful way to bring the family unit together and give back to the community.”

Nichols said Accent Nursery & Landscaping of Douglasville provided an “amazing donation of plants for our families of recovery” and that the donation “has made a huge impact in our success and the start of our plant shop.”

Nichols said she is working on a large community garden and greenhouse space at the resource center to allow families to participate in the growing and harvesting of edible plants.

“This garden will help serve our local families in need facing financial vulnerabilities or housing insecurity,” she said. “Our gardens are managed by families in mental health or substance use recovery learning to cultivate and nurture organic practices in their family unit.”

Some of the other services the Nichols Center provides are:

Creating remembrance gardens for families that are grieving from loss due to overdose or suicide.

Facilitating life events for its recovery community that provide ways for family/community reunification and restoration.

Sharing opportunities for individuals to give back to the community through its community service program and community projects.

In addition to plant sales, the Nichols Center relies on donations and grants to cover the overhead for the family resource center, allowing the support groups to remain free.

Nichols said the center’s programs are based on the mental health and substance use recovery needs within the community. Support groups are led by volunteers.

“Our goal is to bridge the gap for families at their most vulnerable moments and serve to connect them with meaningful resources in the community as well as help them cultivate healing practices in their lives,” Nichols said.

Nichols said the center is looking for families to volunteer at the center’s garden and at its garden site and to participate in the creation of the center’s community edible garden. The center is also accepting donations of plants and gardening equipment. And Nichols said the shop is staffed by volunteers and that the center is looking to grow its volunteer base.

“If you have a green thumb, or would like to learn about plants, or maybe you just need a place to show up and make a difference, we would love to have you join our team,” Nichols said.

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