In the northwest corner at Parkway Place, a faith-based senior living community in Houston, there is a new prayer garden with two benches featuring hand painted tiles. It’s a quiet place where residents can sit and enjoy themselves, and it’s all thanks to Peyton Price. The high school senior did this project to become an Eagle Scout, the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America. It’s an idea he came up with on his own after visiting the senior living community. He enlisted help from a few friends to clear the area, but on his own he pressure washed it, brought the benches and planted palms on each side. In addition, more than 30 residents volunteered their time to decorate the tiles on the benches with things such as crosses, animals and scriptures. If all of that wasn’t enough, Price also made a cross which hangs on the brick wall between the benches. The blue cross features the passage from Romans chapter 12, verse 12: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Price also dedicated the prayer garden to his grandparents, who call Parkway Place home.
“I knew I wanted to do something that would leave an impact on others, and I thought a prayer garden was the perfect thing at the faith-based community,” said Price. “My grandparents live at the community, and I know it’s something not only they will enjoy, but everyone else will too. They have done so much for me in my life, and I am honored to dedicate this to them. I couldn’t have done this without the help of the residents. They held classes to paint the tiles, and I think it adds a personal touch to the prayer garden. This project helped me demonstrate my leadership skills while giving back to the community. I recently was able to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, and I am grateful to Parkway Place for helping me achieve my goals.”
The prayer garden is now used by many residents for different things. While some hold bible study in the garden, others use it for Sunday service, including Dr. Bill Hinson, Price’s grandfather. He says he enjoys the atmosphere and feels a sense of peace when he is there. He enjoys looking at the tiles and finding the ones he made for the bench. Hinson says he is proud of his grandson and hopes that what Price did will inspire other teenagers to give back.
“It pleases my wife and me because we pray for our grandchildren and their relationship with the Lord,” said Hinson. “For Peyton to come up with this idea and execute it the way he did is so meaningful to us. I couldn’t think of a better place for it to be. I go out there about three times a week, and each time it puts a smile on my face knowing this was done by my grandson. Peyton really did an outstanding job. It truly is a blessing to all of us.”
Prayer gardens have many health benefits for seniors as well. Here are five specific ways spirituality, prayer and meditation help seniors find a sense of purpose:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Find focus
- Feel comfort
- Create connection
- Get in touch with the big picture
The senior living community is always looking for ways to improve the lives of residents, and is thankful that Price chose Parkway Place for his project.
“Peyton did a fantastic job, and we can tell he has already made an impact on the lives of residents at Parkway Place,” said Linda Fitzhugh, director of independent living for Parkway Place. “Each day we see different residents sitting on the benches or admiring the flora. We are a continuing care senior living community and the garden has encouraged some residents to get out and explore, and we love that. You can tell the residents get excited when they find their tile on the bench or sit out there for the first time. We cannot thank Peyton enough for doing the work to make this garden possible.”