This paper explored community-university engagement that integrated a short-term treatment facility for Indigenous youth, a social enterprise organization that focused on healing through horticulture therapy experiences and an interdisciplinary academic team. The focus was to discover whether a horticulture therapy (HT) approach held promise in terms of an appropriate way to expand community service-learning (CSL) with Indigenous peoples and to encourage more diversity of voices in community service-learning experiences. Youth participants took part in a photovoice study and further semi-structured interviews to document their perspectives on the meaning of their horticultural experiences. Findings revealed that youth valued the overall HT experience itself; being connected to the gardens and nature and the social interactions exploring spirituality and the self were significant and meaningful for them. Further, findings demonstrated that a collaborative partnership that engaged multiple service agencies to explore novel ways for engaging youth in healing activities with a university team that guided the research approach holds promise as a CSL with Indigenous youth. We conclude with recommendations on the significance of community-university engagement in delivering therapeutic horticulture programs for Indigenous youth as a community service-learning initiative.
- community service-learning,
- community-based research,
- horticultural therapy
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