7,500 FLORAL BOUQUETS DONATED TO HOMEBOUND CANCER PATIENTS WITH THE JOY BUS CHARITY

Transitions


Co-Founder: Cherry Caudill Dellios 

"You were once wild here. Don't let them them tame you." Isadora Duncan

I was keenly aware of the change in my mother's spirit when I would bring her fresh flowers during her 3rd and final bout with cancer. Flowers were a language we had between us because as a very young child, she was the one who encouraged me to play in the dirt barefoot, later calling me

"Wild Thing"

She not only guided me on how to grow plants from seed, she showed me how to lean in and to take the time to look closely.

Those moments of shared awe would follow me throughout my life and guide me in the many decisions I would make while mothering, teaching and in the creation of Wild Thing Botanicals.

       GARDENING WARRIORS

I have been a Master Gardener for over 30 years and have spent many years as an educator in the urban schools of central and west Phoenix, designing and building 5 indoor and outdoor school gardens. 
I was determined that the students I taught would not suffer from what is referred to today as nature deficit disorder. 
School Garden    
We also brought the natural world indoors with hydroponic gardening, vermicomposting, large indoor gardens with grow lights, portable gardens, insect habitats and life cycles of praying mantis', ladybugs and butterflies. 
 
Fieldtrips included weekend camping trips to Camp Tontozona, ASU's College of Sustainability, Colossal Cave and botanical gardens in Phoenix and Tucson.  
Daily routines included not only tending to the gardens, but also nurturing the finches, gerbils, hermit crabs and tree frogs that became our class pets.

School became a science laboratory of experiments and wonderings that had to be explored.

   

CH CH CHANGES

In 2018 I held up the "peace-out" sign as an educator and decided it was time to move on. I had no idea what I was going to do, but the idea of finding out was both exhilarating and daunting. 
 Always the student, I began studying Applied Positive Psychology through the University of Pennsylvania and UC Berkeley.   
 I learned about the positive impact that awe and joy can have on a person's well-being and that we can purposefully create these moments to guide us through times of illness, stress and change. 

I was most excited to learn that a whopping 40% of our lives is within our control to create the circumstances, behaviors and thoughts that can lead to a greater sense of well-being and happiness. 

I started experimenting by making a list of activities that give me joy and planned them into my day. I noticed an immediate change in my life, especially if I was struggling with self-doubt and fear.

I was reminded of my mother's journey and how just looking at flowers or plants would calm her. I wanted to figure out a way to give that experience of calm and joy to others. 

40% = choices + nature = happier

 I was beginning to piece together a plan for what was next in my life: 
1
create positive moments with plants and flowers for others
2
use my experience and love for flowers and plants 
find a way to make a positive change in my community 

 By now, events and chance meetings were happening at lightning-speed and they propelled me forward, staying open to whatever came my way. 
 
SERENDIPITY
In 2019 I read about The Joy Bus nonprofit and The Joy Bus Diner. I went in for breakfast one morning and I was totally hooked. Not only was the food delicious and fresh, the positive vibes in the restaurant were palpable. When did dining become a party?!  There was a flyer on the table about their mission and I knew instantly I wanted to somehow be a part of it. 
 
JUMPING ONTO THE BUS 
 I offered to put fresh flowers on the dining tables and potted plants on the counter at The Joy Bus Diner. Next, I began to make small floral arrangements and potted plants for the cancer patients like I had done for my mother. I wanted them to go home with the meals their volunteers deliver every week. A gourmet healthy meal with flowers on the table. Lovely. I made some new friends at the diner and began delivering meals with them. Everything was falling into place but I needed a way to make the donations of floral bouquets more sustainable. 
  

Delivering Bouquets 2020  

By now it was time to bring in my daughter Danielle, the creative, experienced and practical one in business for some guidance and honest advice. I took her to The Joy Bus Diner so she could experience it for herself. 

We had some serious no-idea-is ridiculous brainstorming. She understood all of the different pieces I wanted to bring together and we began planning. I had the idea of an online plant business that would not just deliver but also change the experience of owning a plant to a positive one. We began building around that idea and the wild ideas were becoming a reality. 

We also knew we wanted to use the business as a force for good and so we decided on the Buy One, Give One business model.

We decided that for every product purchased, a floral bouquet or plant would be given to a cancer patient with the Joy Bus. We were also excited that by using this model, our customers would become partners with us and together we would make a positive impact in our community.

We call it Plant Philanthropy

Spring 2020 plants and flowers donated to The Joy Bus Cancer Patients

DEAD PLANTS TELL NO TALES

We are 3rd and 4th generation gardeners, so houseplant care was not new to us. We have experienced all the frustrations and disappointments that everyone who has ever owned a plant has. 

One day a plant looks fine, the next day it's near death, never knowing what went wrong or how to find out, much less having the time to embark on some research.

We wanted to change the plant parenting experience to a positive one.

We began experimenting extensively with a variety of houseplants that we didn't already own in our homes and office. Which ones would be the easiest for people to take care of? How can we make the experience of owning a plant successful and fun? 
What can we give to plant parents that would help them be successful and most important, build their confidence... just short of moving in with them? 
 Immediately each of our homes and offices became a jungle. We took notes, shared successes and failures and mourned crossing the DIVA plants off the list.
We finally had the plant winners which would not just survive, but thrive without a lot of care. We decided on the list of items we would gift to the customer to ensure success and decided it was important to give them direct access to us in case a plant misbehaves. 
Wild Thing Botanicals was finally ready to take root with products featuring plants and flowers. 
We had designed a business that included all of our knowledge of plants and flowers that included a way to sustain our giving to our community. 

 

HIGH HOPES

'But she's got high hopes, she's got high hopes
She's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes'

Imaging something new based on the memories of my mother's smile when I brought her flowers, my young daughter's delight as we gardened together, the hundreds of children I taught to garden and the heartfelt phone calls I get from the Joy Bus patients, has brought me to today. 

                  full circle

                                     hands in the soil, again 

      giving flowers and plants 

                                                                 full of AWE and HOPE 

 Youngsters Cherry and Danielle. Dedicated to Gwen.