Waterville Creates! and The Yellow Tulip Project are teaming up to smash the stigma around mental illness by planting yellow tulips on Saturday, Oct. 12, in community Hope Gardens at the RiverWalk at Head of Falls, 1 Common St., inWaterville; Central Maine Veterans Memorial Park, Roderick Road, in Winslow; and at the Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons in downtown Waterville.

The project was founded by Julia Hansen when she was a sophomore in high school, according to a news release from Serena Sanborn of Waterville Creates!

The public can participate in the planting of the Hope Gardens beginning at the RiverWalk at 2 p.m. and finishing at the veterans memorial park. A Yellow Tulip ambassador Abi Bloom will lead the opening ceremony at 4 p.m. at the veterans memorial park, where hot cocoa and cider will be provided.

Participating organizations include Waterville Senior High School, Kennebec Behavioral Health, Waterville Parks and Recreation, Hardy Girls/Healthy Women, The Family Enrichment Council, MaineGeneral 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.

Hansen 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, according to the release.

“We are thrilled to be working with The Yellow Tulip Project to help raise awareness for mental illness while spreading joy throughout Waterville. I’m looking forward to the programming in May and seeing all the beautiful tulips in bloom,” said Sanborn, Education and Outreach Coordinator at Waterville Creates!, in the release.

For more information about The Yellow Tulip Project, visit TheYellowTulipProject.org.

For more information about Waterville Creates!, visit watervillecreates.org.

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