“This is a teaching institution — the more resources you can provide would-be doctors, the better training they’ll receive and the better doctors they’ll become,” Bob Raven says. “Teaching institutions are always at the cutting edge of medical practice.”
The UF Health Children’s Healing Garden, set to be constructed in front of UF Health Shands Hospital facing Archer Road, will provide a safe space for pediatric patients to rehabilitate through gardening, walking and playing among the flora and fauna. Jan Raven says she was motivated to support the project for its potential impact on the health outcomes of UF Health’s youngest patients.
“We were told by a doctor that the key to a healthy life is exercise, exercise, exercise,” she says. “If the kids can get outside in this garden, maybe they can get better faster and get out of the hospital. We’d love these kids to get back to their families and their lives instead of sitting in hospital rooms.”
The Ravens have a long history of using their time and resources to give back. Bob Raven has served on the board for Youth for Tomorrow, founded by retired football coach Joe Gibbs, while Jan Raven has overseen a team of 600 volunteers at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Jan Raven says she and her husband agree that their philanthropy and volunteer work has provided them with warm feelings that last a lifetime. That same feeling motivates the pair to continue making the 90-minute drive from Citrus County to UF Health for their health care needs.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to get another two and a half years with Bob,” she says. “Had he not come to UF Health, he wouldn’t be here today.”