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Landscape Perceptions Gives Time and Expertise

By Mary MacDonald, Associate Exec. Director

Planting of Fairview Junipers were used among other trees and shrubs by (left to right) Rob Balice, Mary Jo Sheridan and Cindy Festa are part of “Harah’s Hero’s” lending a helping hand at Covenant House
Photos Courtesy of The Covenant House N.J.

Knowing the high cost of construction Mary MacDonald needed to reach out to one of their faithful donors, Lenny DiTomaso of Landscape Perceptions for support. Lenny had shared his expertise as a landscape architect with Covenant House in the past. The design was especially challenging, since we had to comply with the City of Atlantic City and meet the needs of Covenant House. After numerous design revisions, we pleased everyone involved and then came time to implement.

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The Covenant House had a new project underway with the Atlantic City Rights of Passage a 10-unit apartment building where 20 youths could practice independent living skills while living under the supportive roof of Covenant House as they save to live on their own. Landscaping was just as important to the City as it was to Covenant House. But, as always, money is a concern when you are trying to put your dollars towards housing and helping over 140 youths a night. Seeing the cost of construction increase, and funding growing scarce, Mary reached out to Lenny DiTomasso of Landscape Perceptions for help designing the landscape plan that the City of Atlantic City required as part of the permitting process for the building. He understands that beautiful surroundings is a big part of helping our young people feel worthy of success and it makes them feel better about living in our facilities.”

As the project progressed, it wasn’t just design services that were necessary, Covenant House needed to find a way to get the plantings into the ground and Lenny came through once again. The project was dubbed “Planting Seeds in the Garden of Hope”, and Landscape Perceptions was the first team to sign onto the all-volunteer effort of actually planting all 350 of the trees, shrubs, bushes, and small plants. It was a project that spanned two weekends, and included volunteers from Sam’s Club, Harrah’s Casino & Resorts “Heros”, volunteers from Jerry Smith Concrete & Masonry Contractors, local church members and youth from the loc, which worked ten-hour days each weekend under the guidance of the Landscape Perception professionals.

Sam’s club volunteers hard at work for Covenant House “Rights of Passage” Building in Atlantic City.

Working hard pays off

Lenny and his crew were especially touched by the hard work the youth of Covenant House had put forth. Almost every one of the youths working inquired about working for Landscape perceptions. Working with the crew, made them realize that they could keep up with the professionals when it came to digging holes and doing the hard work. After the project was done, and once the kids were moved in they were so excited to receive a box of Landscape Perceptions t-shirts accompanied by a letter from Lenny.

Lenny was awarded a plaque, which dedicated his name to one of the youth apartments. That plaque remains in the facility today and he says, “I must say, that dedication is such a humbling thank you from Covenant House. They can certainly count on me any time in the future.”

Covenant House New Jersey has been serving homeless, at risk and runaway youth between the ages of 17 and 21 since 1989. The organization not only fulfills homeless young people’s immediate needs of shelter, food and clothing, but also helps them gain the tools they need to become self-sufficient, independent adults. Covenant House New Jersey provides a safe and warm place to sleep, while providing young people the opportunity to further their education, seek pastoral counseling, obtain legal services and become marketable to potential employers so that one day they can work for a successful company like Landscape Perceptions.

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June 26, 2019, 12:07 pm PDT

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