Waterville Creates! and The Yellow Tulip Project are teaming up to smash the stigma around mental illness by planting vibrant yellow tulips in community Hope Gardens at the RiverWalk at Head of Falls, Veteran’s Memorial Park, and at the Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons in downtown Waterville. The Yellow Tulip Project was founded by Julia Hansen when she was just a sophomore in high school. The public is invited to participate in the planting of the Hope Gardens on Saturday, October 12. Planting will begin at the RiverWalk at 2:00 pm and finish at the Veteran’s Memorial Park. A Yellow Tulip ambassador, Abi Bloom, will lead the opening ceremony at the Veteran’s Memorial Park at 4pm, where there will be hot cocoa and cider to enjoy.
Participating organizations include Waterville High School, Kennebec Behavioral Health, Waterville Parks and Recreation, Hardy Girls/Healthy Women, The Family Enrichment Council, Maine General Hospital, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, FEDCO Bulbs, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville Peer Support Center, the Universalist Unitarian Church, Waterville Rotary Club, Waterville Lions Club, Maine Film Center, as well as many privately-owned properties throughout Waterville.
Julia had the goal to make a space for determined youth to join together to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illness, build communities, and spark conversations about how to decrease the suicide rate. This is done through the Hope Gardens and related programming. In May, when the tulips are in full bloom, there will be associated wellness events available for all to attend in Waterville.