Help us with the garden:
We can use your help at our work days or by your generous donation. The next work day is TBD.

Want to make a general donation?

Violet Smith, Director,
Violet Smith is a life-long Santa Cruz County resident with roots steeped in community engagement and stewardship. She brings her years of experience in both graphic design and marketing to Walnut Avenue with the goal of raising awareness and funds for the center. Violet’s commitment to the Shannon Collins Memorial Garden is fueled by her desire to create a place to celebrate community and to remember her best friend, Shannon Collins.

Heather Putnam, Ph.D., Co-Director, 2015-2016


Long-time resident and business owner Shannon Kathleen Collins ardently supported Walnut Avenue Family & Women's Center and her legacy lives on through the Shannon Collins Memorial Garden. The goal of the garden is to celebrate the legacy of Shannon Collins and promote her ideals of education, community, and youth and women’s empowerment. We envision working with longtime sponsor of the Garden, Lelo, and many other supporters in the Santa Cruz community to build a multi-functional space that will fulfill the mission of the Center through the space and potential related programming, while at the same time raise community engagement with the Center both physically and financially. Stage 1 of the project will focus on the funding development and physical construction of the Garden over 18 months, while Stage 2 will focus on working with the Center’s Board and staff to deepen linkages between Center programming and the Garden.

The Garden will include various features fulfilling different functions. It will include community garden plots that will be available to both Center participants – helping to fulfill nutrition needs for participating families – as well as community members for a fee; a tranquility/reflection garden with benches, a water feature, and a memorial plaque to Shannon Collins; a small amphitheater/open air contained space suitable for public events, talks, and Center programming activities; a children’s garden with interactive garden features; a brick or tile patio where bricks/tiles will honor supporters of the Garden and the Center; and paths throughout for wandering and reflecting. 

See the team in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 29, 2016.

Shannon Collins Memorial Garden Press Release