The mission of ACRES is to provide programs that match the passions and skills of adults with autism to meaningful living and working opportunities that will make them strong contributors to our community.
All activities are designed to support the mission of ACRES and targeted to specific outcomes. They should also be fun or rewarding to be sustainable. Activities must always be self-selected by, and attractive to, the participants. For example, a birdhouse building activity was targeted to community integration, but it was also an exercise in team building, and was something the participants enjoyed doing. Understanding that participants may have limited financial resources, most ACRES programs are underwritten by donor contributions. Nominal fees may be applied to make some activities more meaningful for the participants, thereby encouraging their full commitment. Groups are limited to 6 to 8 individuals. For safety reasons, two instructors/assistants are present at all times. A mix of paid and volunteer staff are used.
Services provided by ACRES include:
By providing a positive and supportive environment, ACRES encourages and develops the passions and strengths of its participants into meaningful employment opportunities.
We are an approved provider of Pre-Employment Transition Services (PETS) and work readiness training through Pennsylvania's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). These OVR programs allow individuals to participate in paid work experiences at local businesses and practice skills and behaviors needed to obtain and maintain competitive, integrated employment.
Acres Artisans is an independent collective of small businesses owned and operated by adults with autism. The ACRES Project offers support to each entrepreneur by providing mentorship, physical workspace, and initial supplies needed to help launch or grow a business. Completed products, including embroidery, personalized coffee mugs, beard oil, and handcrafted soaps are available for purchase at local businesses and the Acres Artisans online marketplace, www.acresartisans.com. Acres Artisans provides adults with autism with a source of income, an opportunity to form lifelong career skills, and the ability to share the fruits of their talents with the greater community.
Coming soon! Aquaponics is an innovative farming method that compliments the skill set of those on the spectrum. Within this system, fish and plants grow in harmony. Aquaponics not only grows sustainable food items, but encourages job training skills as well leadership initiatives.
Although autism can make socialization difficult, most individuals with autism have a desire to connect with others. Connecting adults with each other through natural socialization and recreational events helps to foster communication as well as self-learning.
Our Wednesday night group, college support program, barbecues, and parties provide adults on the autism spectrum with the opportunity to make new friends, strengthen social skills, and create meaningful interpersonal relationships with others.
ACRES strives to encourage and develop the passions and strengths of its participants so that they have the skills to become strong contributors to our community. Participating in autism outreach initiatives, building birdhouses for farms in the area, hosting community open houses, and creating and selling crafts help integrate our adults into the community and members of the community into the ACRES Project.