South Jersey native Bill Green is transforming Saddlehill, the former Stafford Farm, into a winery complete with flower gardens and abundant vineyards. Through his connection to the nonprofit Sprouting Connections, Bill raised funds to provide horticulture programming to young adults with disabilities. Those funds are being used to establish the environment for Bancroft’s day programming on the farm.
Bancroft’s Integrated Arts and Employment Program at Saddlehill will provide learning opportunities through horticulture and enrichment. Day program participants will plant herbs, vegetables and flowers, as well as prepare and maintain the greenhouse.
“The collaboration is such an amazing opportunity to offer those in our programs a unique learning experience,” says Jessica Fedezko, Senior Program Director for Bancroft’s Day and Employment Programs. “This setting provides the perfect opportunity to teach foundational skills for independence in a hands-on, functional way where participants can also enjoy what they do. We are designing the program so that individuals will be able to discover new interests, passions and have a sense of pride in their work.”
Green, who purchased the farm in March of 2021, is anxious to share the space with the community. “I found so much joy in Saddlehill, and now I am looking forward to sharing that joy with those that will benefit from it most. The partnership with Bancroft is the perfect opportunity to do just that.”
The program at Saddlehill, slated to begin in April, will be available to individuals currently enrolled in Bancroft’s day programs. Plans for expansion include employment services and opportunities, formal seasonal courses for the autism community, and expansion of the program.
Bancroft’s structured day programs take place at sites throughout southern and central New Jersey and offer continued functional learning through structured activities, community inclusion, and a variety of therapeutic supports. The aim is to prepare participants to develop the skills they need to succeed independently across residential, community, vocational or volunteer settings.