Growing Hope Farm is a non-profit organization that offers a safe learning environment for people with developmental disabilities.
“The Farm provides people who are atypical with a place to matter and be who they are,” said says director and founder Laura Cole. “The Farm is open to all- anybody and everybody can use it- it provides both typicals and atypicals with a safe space to gain and give awareness.”
The Farm is designed to ensure individuals can become as independent as possible in both home and workplace environments. The Farm provides a variety of meaningful living, working, learning, and leisure activities.
On The Farm, you can find animals such as cows, goats, chickens, dogs and cats- all that provide support and meaningfulness to people with developmental disabilities and those without alike. The community garden teaches people about gardening and can give them a sense of something to be proud of; the garden nurtures growth in several ways in that sense.
The art studio gives a valuable way of expression to those who may have a difficult time expressing themselves. The art studio also serves as a therapeutic activity in a fun and enjoyable way. The sensory room at Growing Hope Farm provides people who may get over-stimulated by “sensory overload” with a place to relax and re-adjust when their surroundings become overwhelming. The farm animals, community garden, art studio, and sensory room all serve as ways of entertainment but also learning and growing for individuals.
Growing Hope Farm is open as a space to rent for free event hosting.
“If people want to host a yoga class, or an art class, or anything that we have enough space to provide for then we’ll host it. These events we host here are so important since we provide a space where atypicals and typicals can coexist and learn more about each other,” said Cole.
In the fall, Growing Hope Farm is partnering with Four County Career Center to give their students with developmental disabilities an additional place to learn and grow. They will service around 20 students and provide further vocational training outside of the classroom.
Established in the winter of 2014, GHF is just getting started.
“We have really big plans here,” said Cole. “We plan on implementing lease-to-own supported living eventually. Our plan will then be to get them here, help them grow [and become] more self-sufficient, then help provide them with a place to live.”
All of these developments will be in the works in the future for GHF.
The Farm also donates from their farm to Cherry Street Mission on a regular basis, and provides numerous volunteer opportunities through property maintenance, animal and community garden care, and supporting social and annual events.
“We really specialize in teaching awareness,” Cole said. “But the most important thing is making sure they know they matter. We’re focused on making that known to not only those individuals, but to the public as well.”
To learn more, you can like Growing Hope Farm on Facebook.