In December 2016, Adam Fernsler and Frank Peno purchased a 3,800 square foot former group home located in rural Patton Township, with the expectation that the ACRES Project would start their first programs on this site. ACRES then signed a lease with an option to buy starting in March of 2017. We received a generous donation of $10,000 from the Decibel Group to start us off.
ACRES has transformed the house and its two-acre greenspace into a support center for individuals with autism. Here, we provide opportunities designed to complement vocational and volunteer experiences. With so much to offer, participants can develop lifelong friendships, gain crucial job development skills and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The ACRES house is a special place.
The main floor has a large gathering room for social groups, parent meetings, and events. A large, open kitchen area provides the perfect space for everyday life lessons, cooking classes, shared meals, and socializing. A large activity area will be used for crafts, structured activities, and homework help. Our social groups will have ample room to communicate and learn how to spend time in a group setting. A washer and dryer will also be on the main floor to help with laundry skills, while an enclosed porch off the kitchen offers time to relax, enjoy the scenery, and listen to the birds. The 2 bedrooms upstairs house our first residential transition program, while our large, two story hallways are the perfect place to showcase our community's artwork and donor plaques.
The lower level contains our sensory and computer training rooms. A large sensory room allows for movement, music, and sensory integration activities to assist with attention, awareness, and stress and anxiety. Fun STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities will help introduce and reinforce skills while making friends and strengthening social skills at the same time. A state of the art virtual reality room is a focus for our vocational training, building confidence by simulating possible employment environments.
We recognize the importance of preserving green space, and we have put just as much thought into what is on the outside of our facility as we have about what is inside. Our home features beautiful rural views on three sides of the main building. The surrounding land is abundant with large maple trees and there are nearby trails for walking. A variety of outdoor activities are available, including access to Bernel Road Park (located just across the street from our facility). A peaceful, environmentally-friendly sensory garden will allow residents to comfortably engage with nature. The local land is well-suited for cultivating a variety of plants, making our community the perfect location for vegetable and butterfly gardens. It will also house our aquaponics greenhouse, which will provide horticultural therapy, employment, and community integration for adults with autism and intellectual disabilities, all while contributing to the sustainability of the Centre Region.