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The Holistic Path to Recovery

This is a current schedule of weekly group-based activities focused around promoting overall health and well-being for adults living with serious mental health conditions who are served by the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health.

Please register for a group before you attend. If a group is currently full, we will maintain a wait-list and let you know when a spot opens up. Many groups are open and run throughout the year, unless stated otherwise. Please note those with specific start-end dates.

To register for a group, or if you have any questions: Contact Farm Program Manager Matt Ballard, 919-966-0933 or request UNC staff/clinician send a referral to Matthew Ballard through Epic In Basket.



Therapeutic Horticulture (Ongoing)
10:00am – 12:00pm, In-person, Farm at Penny Lane
This group provides weekly plant-based activities in and around the garden to help lower anxiety, boost your mood and encourage physical activity and regular outdoor time. Participants often go home with produce for the week. No green thumb is required!

Emotional Resiliency Skills (Ongoing)
3:00pm – 4:00pm, Virtual via Zoom or phone
This group provides a way to check in weekly or as-needed with others and focuses on supporting your recovery goals through various symptom or self-management skills and mindfulness practices. Time is offered each week for brief group processing and learning or practicing recovery skills.

Community Volunteer Workday (Ongoing)
3:00pm – 5:00pm, In-person, Farm at Penny Lane
We meet as a community to tend the farm. Volunteers assist with planting, watering, weeding, mulching, harvesting and special projects. Sign up at



Brushes with Life (Ongoing)
10:30am – 12:00pm, Virtual via Zoom OR In-person, Suite D-4 Carr Mill Mall (Carrboro)
This group provides visual and expressive arts activities where participants can select from a wide range of mediums to express their thoughts and feelings. All skill levels are encouraged. .

Garden Crew (Ongoing)
3:00pm – 4:30pm, In-person, Farm at Penny Lane
This group focuses on learning seasonal gardening skills for personal and vocational goals and practicing them in a supportive environment.



Wednesday groups will begin again on September 7 and run through November 16. Shuttle is available as a roundtrip, departing at 10:30am and returning by 3:20pm, since the groups are back-to-back. Participants will need to find other transportation if they choose to arrive or leave at different times. You’re also welcome to hang out on-site if not attending a certain group.

Yoga & Breathing
11:00am – 12:00pm, In-person, Farm at Penny Lane
This group focuses on using yoga to promote wellness and connect the mind and body. Sessions may include gentle stretching and twisting, breathing techniques and guided imagery. The instructor emphasizes listening to your body and feeling empowered.

Cooking & Lunch
12:00pm – 2:00pm, In-person, Farm at Penny Lane
This group focuses on healthy and delicious cooking instruction on a limited budget and to work on increasing greater appreciation for food. We cook along with and socialize with each other. All skill levels are encouraged.

Music Over Mind
2:00pm – 3:00pm, In-person, Farm at Penny Lane
This group provides participants with the creative space to play an instrument, sing, and read poetry or prose with each other. All skill levels are encouraged.



Wellness Management & Recovery (begins September 1 and ends on November 17)
3:00pm – 4:30pm, In-person, Conference Room, Carr Mill STEP Clinic (Carrboro)
This group provides an educational opportunity to learn about various wellness and recovery topics (for example, setting recovery goals, coping with symptoms and medication side effects, building social supports, or advocating for yourself) and practice new strategies and skills. Each rotation is offered for 12-16 sessions. Open to new participants at any time, but early and consistent participation is appreciated.



Community Volunteer Workday (Ongoing)
10:00am – 12:00pm, In-person, Farm at Penny Lane
We meet as a community to tend the farm. Volunteers assist with planting, watering, weeding, mulching, harvesting and special projects. Sign up at

Upcoming Groups

Dates and times to be determined. Let us know if you’re interested!

Equine Therapy
Learn healthy connection and communication from horses, the ultimate teachers. They have a unique ability to physiologically reduce symptoms, fostering honesty, resilience, and recovery.

PAWS (Peer Assisted Wellness Support)
The UNC PAWS Program is an animal-assisted therapy that promotes physical, mental, and emotional healing and well-being through human-animal interaction. We teach skills, habits, and methods of communication that all species can carry with them through the rest of their lives. We are not currently adopting or providing emotional support animals at this time; however, we are hosting opportunities for dog owners to receive obedience and socialization skills training in a group format. Participants who aren’t currently dog owners but like being around dogs are also invited to participate.

Forest Therapy (or Shinrin-yoku)
This group provides structured, sensory activities that engage the healing qualities of a forest through observation. Participants are invited to build meaningful relationships with other living things to help improve mood, focus and immune response. This is not a hiking group.


Groups are currently located at the UNC Farm at Penny Lane (263 Penny Lane, Pittsboro) or at Carr Mill Mall STEP Clinic Suite C-6 or D-4 (200 N. Greensboro St, Carrboro) depending on the group. A couple of groups are also held virtually via Zoom or by phone.


A shuttle is available for groups located at the farm. The shuttle is a small blue bus that picks up at the outdoor pavilion in between CVS and Carr Mill Mall. The shuttle departs 30 minutes before the group starts and returns 20 minutes after the group ends. When registering for groups, please note if you will need the shuttle. Brief symptom screenings and masks will be required for shuttle transportation.

Volunteer Opportunities in the Garden

We meet as a community to tend the farm. Volunteers assist with planting, watering, weeding, mulching, harvesting, trail maintenance, and special projects.
Every Monday, 3 PM – 5 PM
Every Friday, 10 AM – 12 PM
Third Saturdays (March-November) from 9 AM – 12 PM

Volunteering Guidelines:

  • Please give us 24 hour notice when signing up or canceling. We plan our work around  volunteer availability. If you arrive unexpectedly or don’t show up at all it can have a major impact on our staff.
  • Wear closed-toed shoes, dress for the weather, and bring a reusable drink container, sunscreen, and bug spray.
  • All volunteers must complete a Volunteer Information Form and a Visitor Consent, Release, and Indemnity Agreement.
  • Youth, 17 and younger without a driver’s license, must be under the supervision of a parent or guardian.