September 3, 2019
To: Our Dear Friends and Supporters
It is with great sadness that we have officially sold our Special Dreams Farm, (SDF), property on Fred Moore Highway, St. Clair Township. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides meaningful work, life, and pre-employment skill building for adults with developmental disabilities. SDF was established in 2004 and moved to the St. Clair County property in 2008.
We were very well received by the wonderful and generous people of St. Clair, Macomb, and Wayne Counties. We were very welcomed with many groups and individuals volunteering. We had incredible support for our fundraisers and special events. The surrounding communities appreciated and believed in our purpose and mission which made us very proud. However, in the eleven years we offered our program we receive no referrals from St. Clair County agencies or schools. Consequently, all our participants, we call them farmers, came from Macomb County with a few individual participants and school visits from Wayne County.
Macomb County Community Mental Health immediately saw our value and supported their client’s families to participate in the Special Dreams Farm programs. Support Coordinators from Macomb visited the farm regularly. Except for a very few St. Clair County farmers, that came on their own without county support, we only served Macomb County special needs adults. In the end, the travel distance for Macomb County residences to the farm took its toll. Consequently, we were only serving a handful of farmers. This resulted in an unsustainable situation.
Our intention to serve special needs adults from St. Clair was clearly not going to be supported by the existing system that offers services and guidance to this population. Unfortunately, for all involved, we just could not make that connection.
Once again, on behalf of our board of directors and special need adults, we want to thank the many individuals, business’s, churches, and civic groups for your support and generosity. You treated us so well. We are moving away, but you won’t be forgotten.
Special Dreams Farm
September 13-15, 10am – 5:00pm
6524 Fred W. Moore Hwy. St. Clair Township, MI
Exit 257 off I-94, East 2.5 Miles
Special Dreams Farm Has Been Sold, EVERYTHING MUST GO!
Farm Tools & Equipment
Household items, Dishes, Cookware
Lawn Care Equipment
Generator, Snow Blower, Rototiller, Chain Saw, Weed Whips
Electrical construction items, wire etc.
Plumbing fittings PVC
Fabric for sewing
Road Fabric & Large PVC Pipe
And Much, Much, More!
Contact us if you know an adult with special needs that would like to work on the farm, or if you would like more information about donating or volunteering on the farm.
Around 9:15am Monday through Friday, fifty-one weeks a year, our special need farmers start arriving at the farm with their job coaches. They punch a time clock like most normal workers do, and at 9:30, after a few minutes of socialization, Program Manager Sara passes around a box, that our farmers reach into, and pull out a picture of an animal care job. Animal care is always first on the daily agenda. A farmer may get the task of feeding the chickens, gathering and washing eggs, feeding the cats, or rabbits, sweeping the chicken coup or other duties. However, before they leave the shop to start their animal tasks, Sara gives everyone their main assignments for the day. Sara knows the farmers and has a very good understanding concerning their capabilities and interests. Her goal is to provide work that the farmers like, while challenging them to learn new jobs.
At 11:30am our farmers and job coaches come back to the shop for a half hour lunch. Farmers bring their own lunches except for the days when the cooking class prepare a delicious lunch for everyone. At 12:00 it’s back to work on the assignments of the day until 1:30 when everyone puts away the tools, cleans up, and has a snack in the shop. The farmers, job coaches, and program manager have a brief discussion about the day, before punching the time clock and saying goodbye.
Time of the year has an influence on what jobs need to be done. One team may split wood and fill the wood rack where we sell our firewood. Others may start working in the greenhouse or garden. We have a lot of grass so some like learning landscaping skills by cutting and trimming grass. Every Tuesday there is either a cooking or sewing class which is very popular. Leather classes are taught at least once a month, and crafts are sometimes on the agenda during inclement weather. During the winter, we tap our maple trees, collect sap and our farmers boil it down to maple syrup. Picnic tables and picket fence are made by farmers which are used at the farm or sold to the public. Some farmers like to do office type work learning how to prepare documents for mailing or filing. No matter what the farmers task for the day, we emphasize life and pre-employment skill training.
Every farmer is different in their abilities and interests. We have no daily production standards. While it may take one farmer an hour to do a task, that task may take another farmer a full day. Therefore, our goal is allowing everyone to do the best they can, improving their skill set and staying engaged. Every farmer without exception accomplishes more than they or others thought they could do.