DIG Farm and CBS Solidify Long-term Work Opportunities for Adults with Disabilities
DIG Farm, a nonprofit, volunteer-based teaching farm in North Salem, New York, partnered with Community Based Services, Inc. (CBS), a nonprofit organization providing the highest level of person centered and innovative care, employment, day and community habilitation, individualized residential alternatives, and respite services for people with developmental disabilities and autism based in North Salem, New York. This concrete partnership creates an opportunity for adults with all abilities from CBS
to volunteer at the farm once a week for years to come.
The benefits of this new partnership include:
• Increased cognitive function and development of prevocational skills among adults with
• A consistent stream of volunteer help at DIG Farm,
• A heightened sense of community, and beyond.
Fostering a Connection Between Community & Nature
DIG Farm aims to foster a connection between the community and nature while creating a thriving and equitable local food system for the benefit of all in Westchester, NY. They invite the community to engage in the outdoor educational nature programs they offer such as their Access Nature Project, develop agricultural techniques through volunteer work on the farm, and sign up for classes they conduct such as farming, cooking, foraging, beekeeping, and more.
CBS's Job Skills Development Program
Volunteering at DIG Farm supports CBS’s Job Skills Development Program, which provides employment training and experience for individuals with disabilities. As volunteers, adults with all abilities from the CBS prevocational training program will learn the process of growing, weeding, and harvesting, work alongside other interns and volunteer groups, feed chickens and pigs, and absorb all that being in the great outdoors has to offer.
And after visiting the farm, Joe Conti, a job developer at CBS, remarked that “the beauty of DIG Farm is the freedom and celebration of choice. If you want to go plant and harvest vegetables, you can. If you don’t, you can go take a nature walk, look at the animals, and experience the beauty of the farm.” Through the freedom of this prevocational volunteer experience, adults with all abilities can explore tasks that might interest them, determine their manual dexterity, and ultimately identify the job that best suits their skill sets.
Avinash Samaroo, CBS director of vocational services, added that “it is important with everything being so spaced out in North Salem to be partnered with the local businesses, especially in the nonprofit field. It’s great that DIG Farm and CBS are working together and helping each other out.”
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