By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Special Interest | Issue: November 2007
Mary Wiley, Kim Falcon, executive director, and Tinna Bradsher evaluate the progress of the poinsettias that are grown and sold annually by A New Leaf.
A New Leaf helps customers share the warmth and joy of the holiday season with its bountiful supply of poinsettias. Available to the public for purchase, the festive plants are sold every year to raise money. And since they are grown in such colors as carousel pink, freedom pink, shimmering surprise, enduring white, freedom red, plum pudding, strawberries ‘n cream and more, who would not want several of their own for holiday cheerfulness?
Kim Falcon, executive director of A New Leaf, says, “Customers may begin placing orders now by phone or by visiting A New Leaf’s greenhouse in Broken Arrow.” Located at 2306 S. 1st Place, a few of blocks south of 91st Street, the organization aims to help disabled individuals in the community.
Stan and Irene Bernstein of Tulsa began a New Leaf in 1979. Their goal was to develop a business at which developmentally-disabled individuals could learn to do a job, find it exciting and contribute to society. After reviewing programs in several major cities, the couple visited a horticultural therapy operation in Chicago. They immediately knew that this would be their focus, and A New Leaf was born with one small greenhouse. Nearly 30 incredible years later, many lives have been changed through the organization. Today, A New Leaf has six greenhouses with a combined total of more than 14,000 square feet.
A New Leaf offers individuals the opportunity to work with plants in greenhouses at the organization itself, as well as in the community. Various services are provided throughout the community by employees, including plant care, housekeeping, laundry services and janitorial services. Crews for these services typically include one staff member and two to four program participants. “The important thing is that our folks do all the work themselves,” Falcon mentions.
Joey Givargidze and Nik Schettler show off some beautiful plants.
A New Leaf is also helping parents of developmentally-disabled individuals access a funding source, which allows them to have occasional time to themselves. Parents can enjoy a night out while their “children,” who may range in age from six to 65 years old, receive supervision while enjoying an activity of their choice. This program is state-funded and has been a tremendous success.
A New Leaf’s staff is excited about its 2007 poinsettias. Better yet, a new selection is being offered this year: diamond frost poinsettias. Each of these poinsettia plants is surrounded by euphorbia, a delicate green plant with white blossoms that resemble snowflakes. And for those interested in giving poinsettias as gifts to coworkers, clients, family or friends, A New Leaf decorates the plants with colorful, foil pot covers.
In addition to the holiday poinsettias, the organization sells beautiful mums to add autumn colors to any setting. Six varieties of mums are being sold this year at A New Leaf. Ranging in color from traditional pink and white to coral, yellow and orange, the mums are guaranteed to bring warmth to any setting.
A New Leaf is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The organization is a proud member of the Tulsa Area United Way, and all proceeds benefit vocational programming for adults with developmental disabilities.
Call A New Leaf at (918) 451-1491 or stop by to order your poinsettias or mums. Since a limited number of the plants are grown each year, it is recommended that those interested call soon and place their orders. Purchasing poinsettias, as well as mums, is a really nice way to add some enjoyment to the holiday season and help others at the same time.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.