The mission of Good Works Farm is to enthusiastically empower differently-abled individuals to reach their fullest potential in supportive and meaningful environments.
In 2011, when her son, Sam (who has autism) was just 14 years old, Nancy began exploring opportunities for him after the “school bus stops coming”. She had volunteered with the Dayton Autism Society for several years and had worked for Goodwill/Easter Seals Miami Valley as the Assistive Technology specialist. In these positions, she had become familiar with sheltered workshops, group homes, and the people she worked with at these locations. Disappointingly, Nancy soon realized the opportunities for a rich, meaningful life for individuals with challenges were few and far between. Her research took her to Bittersweet Farms in Whitehouse, OH, an autism-focused campus where individuals can live, work, engage in recreation, and socialize with each other on an 80-acre farm. Nancy loved the idea of a life surrounded by nature and animals, with meaningful work to do, and friends to do it with. But taking it a step further, she realized that neuro-typical and neuro-diverse individuals should have the opportunity to do life together if they choose, as well.
So in 2012, with the full support of her husband, Bob, and their family, Nancy founded Good Works Farm, Inc. In 2015, with no land, very little money, and just a drive to make a difference, the organization formed a summer day camp that included those with developmental disabilities and their typical siblings, with many of their family members volunteering. This first camp proved they were on the right track. After the first day, it was difficult to tell who had a disability and who didn’t, everyone was just a “camper”. Typical siblings and families got to see their sibling’s strengths, not just their challenges, and the support everyone received was life-changing. This camp grew each year until it reached capacity in 2019.
In 2019, Bob and Nancy purchased a 9-acre farm extension to support the growing needs of Good Works Farm and in 2020, during the pandemic, Good Works Farm seized the opportunity to expand their services by becoming an Ohio Medicaid Waiver Provider Agency. Now able to provide more opportunities for individuals with and without a developmental disability, age 5 through adulthood, the Good Works Farm team is building a fully integrated community extension where everyone’s life is rich with meaning and purpose and everyone belongs.