August 23, 2018
Meet the Crews of Our Work-Based Therapy Program
As a therapeutic farm community, Hopewell is a working farm complete with livestock, gardens, sugaring and more. Our work crews help residents discover their strengths, experience new roles, learn new skills, gain job readiness and build self-esteem. The crews meet five mornings a week, and in July, I ventured out to Mesopotamia to take a closer look.
My first stop was the barns to observe the Farm Crew, led by Bruce McAllester. A few residents were cleaning the horse stalls, which is Mike’s favorite job. He introduced me to Brandie, the miniature pony, and mentioned that she does tricks. JC, a horse trainer before coming to Hopewell, taught Brandie how to curtsy. The crew also feeds and cares for chickens, sheep and cows. Upon leaving, I was drawn to piglet noises in another barn and was met by four sweet noses and muddy feet. What a perfect day so far.
The Gardening Crew spends the morning outside watering, tending the large vegetable garden and weeding the smaller flower beds. Brandon loves gardening, not for the physical work but for the satisfaction of accomplishment. Cindy Wagner said the best growers this summer are yellow squash and cucumbers. Vegetables are used in the Hopewell meals and sold at the Farm & Craft Market, along with dried herbs.
Inside the cottages, the Housekeeping Crew was busy cleaning floors and bathrooms, organizing clean linens, and stocking supplies. Celeste Hein has three dedicated residents who find this work grounding and the routine adds structure to their day.
Rounding off my morning was lunch and observing the Kitchen Crew. Leader Jennifer Miller supervises residents who prepare the salad bar, bake muffins and wash dishes. Ben, the chief dish washer, works until everything is clean and put away. Depending on skill level, some residents follow recipes and prepare meals while others set up the dining hall.
After a delicious meal of chicken salad pita and yellow squash soup, I returned back to the Development Office in Chagrin Falls, grateful for being a part of the Hopewell community. If you would like to tour the farm, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 440.247.0912.Back to Blog