Children’s Garden at New Library Announced
A press conference announcing the Juvenile Protective Association’s sponsorship of the Santori Library’s Children’s Nature Garden was held Friday, Oct. 3, at the office of Allen + Pepa Architects, 121 W. Benton St. during First Fridays in Downtown Aurora.
The garden is intended to be a magical place for the children of Aurora to play, read, learn and discover nature. Features of the garden are nature art tables, waterfalls with slate art walls, reading gazebos, a fairy garden, jumping stones, a “prairie” path, a river, a farm and a gathering tree for storytimes, playing and much more.
Lane and Rebecca Allen of Allen+Pepa Architects are donating the design of the space. Lane Allen also serves on the Aurora Public Library’s Foundation Board.
The Juvenile Protective Association has pledged a donation of $50,000 to the Aurora Public Library Foundation for the garden. Community members will have the opportunity to name individual features in the garden.
The Juvenile Protective Association celebrated its 100th anniversary in February of this year. It was created by six citizens and was chartered by the State of Illinois on Feb. 24, 1914. The Association was formed to care for children who were in danger of neglect or abuse.
The Juvenile Protective Association provided housing for children in several homes around Aurora, including the Mary Godard Home for Children, opened in 1923, and the Edna Smith Home on West Park Avenue.
Built in 1853 as a private residence, the Edna Smith Home was dedicated as a children’s home on Oct. 8, 1948. It closed in 1971, and now is the home of Mutual Ground, a shelter for women and children affected by domestic violence.
The Juvenile Protective Association supports children in Aurora through grants to the Association for Individual Development, The Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, Breaking Free, CASA Kane County, Communities in Schools, Family Counseling Service, Fox Valley Christian Action, Hesed House, Kiwanis Coats for Kids, Mutual Ground, People for Child Care and Taking Back our Community.
Serving as the Juvenile Protective Association Board President for many years, Alan Schuler shared that “to celebrate its 100th anniversary, the JPA Board of Directors voted to award two $50,000 grants to those projects which the board determined would have the most long-term benefits to the children being served. The board believes that the Children’s Nature Garden accomplishes that goal.”