Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Realizing A Dream

Shannon Robinson has fulfilled a personal dream by working at “Springdale Farm” located in Hamden NY; a farm that has been in the Moody family since 1919. This 200 acre farm nestled in the Catskills is home to 89 Holsteins and 40 Jersey cows and heifers.

Angela Edwards, Person Centered Facilitator for The Arc of Delaware County stated that Shannon had met with her in January of 2011 to develop a plan to achieve his personal goals and dreams. Angela stated, “His focus stayed true to his dream of working on a farm. He didn’t stop advocating for himself. He showed great confidence while sharing abilities that matched his desire, saying “I’m strong, I’m a hard worker, I know how to use a shovel and throw hay.” A connection was then made with the Moody farm in an effort to put Shannon’s desire to work at a farm into action.

When Bill Moody was first approached, he admittedly had some concerns about safety for Shannon working with the animals, for instance what would happen should one of the animals startle or chew on his clothes. Farming is a challenging business with operating costs continuing to increase and wet weather reducing the amount of available feed and roughage for livestock. So, it is perhaps not surprising that this family who has weathered the ups and downs of the farming business for 92 years continues to see the opportunities that lie in accepting potential challenges.

Shannon works at the Moody family farm with pride and enthusiasm, feeding approximately 40 calves, removing the old hay and putting it in the pens for bedding for the calves. “Everything about the experience has been positive. Now that we’ve done it, I don’t have the concerns I had before”, shared Bill. This provides a welcome respite for Bill’s wife, Patsy who typically did these chores each morning before heading to work at her off the farm job. When asked about what he would say to other businesses looking for employees, Bill said, “I think we don’t have knowledge of the possibilities. We need to get the word out about this. ...My vision was limited on what people with disabilities can do. What has happened here has more than met my expectations.”

If you are open to exploring similar opportunities contact The Arc of Delaware County at (607) 865-7126 or email: