A florist with a cause in Chicago

November 8, 2009 (CHICAGO) Urban Meadows is a not-for-profit florist that is assisting people with mental illnesses in their journeys to recovery. It is part of Thresholds, Chicago's largest mental health agency. The florist is helping people with mental illness in their recovery journey.

Located in the lobby of the 120 South LaSalle Street building, Urban Meadows has something for every occasion.

"We do everything from birthday arrangements, anniversary, weddings, events, funeral work. We do a lot of corporate work, as well," said manager Olville Ocasio.

Head floral designer Theresa Webber has been working at Urban Meadows for nine and a half years.

"I work at least three days full-time, and sometimes, I come in another day so a manager could go to a meeting with his boss," Webber said.

"I mostly designing, not delivering and not processing the flowers. So, Olville has me up at the front. Everyone works back here. Sometimes, someone will join me there," she said.

"I've been with Thresholds since 1996, and the reason why I went to Thresholds was because I started having a mental illness in about [19]91," said Webber. "Instead of staying at home, you know, kind of drifting around, and then I got into their day program."

"Someone came to me and said, 'Would you like to try having a job in horticulture,'" the head floral designer said.

Since most of the workers at Urban Meadows are from Thresholds, they receive support and accommodations to help them succeed.

When asked what was the most popular flower, Webber said, "I would say lilies and dauber daisies and roses. We have tropical flowers everyday, and that's sometimes popular, but I would say the most used flower stem in the shop is probably the lily."

When you are thinking about flower arrangements for your next special occasion, think of Urban Meadows, a florist with a purpose.

"Our flowers are fresher, and the staff is also great. It's a good cause. That's the difference from the other florists," Ocasio said.

Urban Meadows' prices are similar to other florists. For more information, visit www.thresholds.org and www.urbanmeadows.org.

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