Making it Personal
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.
Services provided by ACRES include:
By providing a positive and supportive environment, ACRES will encourage and develop the passions and strengths of its participants into meaningful employment opportunities. Developing culinary skills may lead to selling items at farmers’ markets. Skills developed in photography, art, and poetry may result in designing and selling calendars, note cards, and posters. The possibilities are endless!
Aquaponics & Community Integration Program
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.
Connecting adults with each other through natural socialization and recreational events helps to foster communication as well as self-learning. Pairing adults with similar interests, such as horseback riding, fishing, animal care, and nature will allow for natural activities and choice.
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. Giving cooking lessons at senior care facilities, building birdhouses for farms in the area, giving special interest presentations, and of course, selling fish and vegetables from the aquaponics program will integrate our adults into the community and members of the community into the ACRES Project.
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 will be 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” will be used. Leasing space may or may not be required, depending on the activity (i.e. for equine therapy an agreement may be arranged for a use of show ring and barn at a reduced cost).