OGDEN — An oasis of green grass and flowers, complete with a burbling stream, a gazebo and prayer corner, greets visitors to Give Me A Chance office in Ogden. The garden, which was dedicated in 2016, was built and landscaped by volunteers and through donations. This is the first year it has been in full bloom.
“The idea was to make it a place of beauty for the community,” said Daughter of Charity Sister Arthur Gordon, GMAC’s program director. “It’s a place of quiet and beauty, just to relax.”
The garden is open to the public on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At other times, the students in GMAC’s after-school program climb on the playground equipment, play soccer on the large grassy areas, and tend to the vegetable garden they planted.
The GMAC advisory board includes a master gardener who works with the maintenance man to care for the garden, Sr. Arthur said.
Near the entrance to the garden stands a tiered fountain; the mosaic interior was designed by Daughter of Charity Sister Maria Nguyen, who established GMAC as a way for low-income women to achieve self-sufficiency. A brick walk surrounds the fountain. Some of the bricks are inscribed with names; other memorial bricks will be sold at the Aug. 25 “Enchantment in the Summer Garden” fundraiser.
The garden also contains a memorial engraved with the names of every Daughter of Charity who has served in the Diocese of Salt Lake City since members of the order first arrived in 1920. A grassy area on the east side, which fronts Grant Avenue, has been set aside for the nativity scene that GMAC inherited from the Sisters of St. Benedict, who closed their Ogden monastery in 2013. The crèche originally was donated to the community organization SHARE, but when they closed their doors in 2017, the nativity scene was passed on to GMAC.
“We’re going to have the blessing of the lighting every year at Christmas time,” Sr. Arthur said. “We want to remind people of the reason for the season.”
While the garden’s landscaping is complete, Sr. Arthur is hoping to have a mural painted on the side of the brick building at the south end of the lot. She has already contacted the building’s owner, and is looking for an artist to volunteer his or her talents, she said.