legacy farms: a community for adults with autism
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Post on 21-Aug-2014
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DESCRIPTIONLegacy Farms is a Northern Virginia based, 501c3 non-profit corporation made up of a group of teachers and parents with a common vision; to create a post-secondary residential and vocational community for adults with autism and other developmental challenges. Based upon their professional experience raising and teaching children in the classroom and home, they have recognized the lack of meaningful post-secondary opportunities for post graduate students. Thus, the idea of establishing a working farm for adults with autism and other developmental disabilities in Northern Virginia was born. It is now their intention to help those who come to the farm, lean to live independent and productive lives. Legacy Farms will be a community of adults with intellectual disabilities, based on a holistic model encompassing all aspects of farm life and providing meaningful vocational, recreational, and community opportunities. The staff will strive to foster independence and a sense of achievement by recognizing and developing individual potential in a supportive home environment. In 2014, Legacy Farms began aggressively raising awareness of their vision by creating Legacy Garden. Legacy Garden is a pilot program that provides gardening opportunities for special needs adults in the community. Adults with autism assisted in preparation and planting of the garden and are welcome to tend the garden as their interest allows. In the spring of 2015 we will be exploring spin farming at Legacy Garden, as well as, an off-site location. Legacy Farms believes the time is now to start planning for the influx of adults with autism currently entering the job market. It is vital that further options are available to these adults, and diverse trends are developed to provide residential and vocational options that are not currently available in our area. Legacy Farms will be there as this boom of young adults needs them, and they hope to inspire others to be there helping as well.
- Legacy Farms A Community for Adults with Autism and other Developmental Challenges
- Our Story We are a group of teachers, parents and professionals with a common vision; to create a post-secondary residential and vocational community for adults with autism and other developmental challenges. While dedicating ourselves to improve the lives of young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, we recognized the lack of meaningful post-secondary opportunities for them. Thus, the idea of creating a legacy for special needs adults was born.
- Our Story (Cont..) Our goal is to become a community of adults with intellectual disabilities, based on a holistic model that encompasses all aspects of farm life, and provide them with meaningful vocational, recreational, and community opportunities. Our staff will continuously strive to foster independence and a sense of achievement among the residents, by recognizing and developing individual potential in a supportive home environment.
- Legacy Farms Board of Directors Martha Schonberger Loudoun County Special Education Teacher President Pam Quinn Loudoun County Social Education Teacher Vice President Susan Aitcheson Accounting Manager at the Center for Innovative Technology Treasurer and Secretary Tracy Monson Licensed Real Estate Consultant Patsy McClintock Autism Consulting Teacher for Loudoun County Schools.
- The Facts The CDC States that 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with ASD in the next year. In the next 10 years over 500,000 people with autism will become adults. 17% of young adults with autism have never lived alone. Currently, only 24% of people with cognitive disabilities aged 16 to 64 work.
- We want to help We believe the time is now to start planning for the influx of adults with autism currently entering the job market. It is vital that a variety of options are available to these adults, and diverse trends are developed to provide residential and vocational solutions currently not available in our area. Legacy Farms hopes to be there as this boom of young adults needs them, and hopes to inspire others to help as well.
- Why a Farmstead? There are many physical benefits of working on a farm that will ensure your loved ones are getting plenty of daily exercise. What really counts though are the therapeutic benefits of living and working on a farm. They include: Meaningful, purposeful work Daily social interaction Developing a sense of accomplishment Daily cognitive exercise, which constantly stimulates the mind Allowing those who have always been cared for the opportunity to care for others Daily seasonal and yearly rhythms of farm life are compatible with the strengths of people with ASD
- Legacy Farms Today Current Programs, Partnerships, and Strategies for Raising Public Awareness
- Phase I Raising Public Awareness Legacy Farms is currently in Phase One. Educate the public on the need of postsecondary options for adults with autism and other developmental challenges Plan and initiate a series of fundraisers, events, and speaking engagements that will help raise money and awareness of the cause Promote Legacy Garden as a place for those with special needs to experience growing crops, hard work and getting their hands dirty. Promote Legacy Gardens as a place to come and learn about our cause. Share the Legacy Farms story and inspire others to get involved.
- Online Initiatives Since May of 2014 Legacy Farms has increased its online presence in multiple ways such as the creation of a new website at www.legacyfarmsvirginia.org The use of social media will ensure Legacy Farms continues to make its mark on the digital community and they have undergone an extensive social media marketing campaign that includes: Facebook Twitter Instagram Google +
- Recent Accomplishments This year, Legacy Farms has ramped up their efforts to accomplish their goals. To create momentum for their vision, the board members have: Met with various persons and organizations in Loudoun County to discuss partnerships in creating day training programs for adults with autism and other developmental challenges: o Hydroponic greenhouse garden training starting in the Fall of 2014 o Exploration of another off-site training center at a local therapeutic horseback riding facility Creation of Legacy Garden, which is a teaching tool; a place for young adults with autism and other developmental challenges to experience growing crops, hard work, and getting their hands dirty.
- Current and Recent Events May 17th 2014, Legacy Garden Construction Wellness Connection Farmers Market in Stone Ridge, Va. July 26th Legacy Farms Garden Party
- Legacy Gardens is our maiden program that began as a way to teach people about Legacy Farms. Our goal is to inspire the community to get involved, by providing a place where people can see the benefits of such a program. We broke ground on May 17th, 2014. Legacy Gardens
- Working together at the garden ensures a variety of social interaction among peers. Planting a garden is a great way to practice cognitive thinking. A job well done, something to be proud about.
- Legacy Farm Training Center As part of our plan to provide agriculturally based job training, we have partnered with several local organizations to provide them with a skilled workforce. We hope to start training as early as Fall of 2014. We will be offering: A variety of greenhouse skills Small Plot Intensive Farming Basic barn and stall maintenance Farmers Market retail skills
- Getting The Word Out While social media continues to play a huge role in promoting Legacy Farms, there are other ways to be seen. We will continue to do what it takes, whether it be though the media, getting out into the community, or building business relationships our main priority is to let people know we are here to help.
- The Farmstead Future outlook for Legacy Farms
- Phase II Breaking Ground This occurs once the land is bought and the farm is under construction. Build or take ownership of a farm Provide a variety of training programs Select qualified residents Continue to raise money and awareness
- The Perfect Scenario A Barn for storing equipment, and livestock such as goats, chickens, and a few horses A Pasture for growing crops (about 10 Acres) 2 residential units to house men and women A community Center Main office Training Facility Greenhouse
- Training Program Legacy Farms will provide a variety of residential and day programs that include but are not limited to: Farming Agriculturally based job training Woodworking Farmers market retail skills Equine based skills
- Application Process The board plans to establish an admissions committee for review and acceptance of applications for residency to insure that candidates match well the services available at the farmstead. Confidential professional assessments are to be performed periodically, to document progress being made by each resident and recommend adjustments to program and services to maximize the benefits.
- Looking Forward Our Hopes for the Future
- Phase III Ongoing Operations and Growth Once Legacy Farms is fully operational and has been operating for several years, we hope to add to existing structures and increase the population to over 20 residents. Maintain farm Build additional units or add on to existing ones to accommodate more residents and staff Maintain community ties, volunteer at local functions, continue raising awareness Continue Fundraising and have a variety of benefits that will help the cause Marketing continues for donations and new residents, as well as Legacy Farms specialty products
- Future Success Volunteering for local fundraisers Giving back Food donations to local food banks Local School involvement Success of the farm depends on many things, one of which is community involvement. Legacy Farms hopes to become an integral part of whatever community they live in., and they plan to do this by giving back locally.
- Legacy Farms The Brand Legacy Farms hopes to create a brand around the services they offer and products they create. This will help maintain the farm and possibly ensure that growth of the farm does not just include one location. As we continue to experiment with new farming methods and passing that knowledge onto those we serve, we hope to one day grow the Legacy brand nationally. So