An immersive horticulture and educational experience for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities has participants in Bancroft’s Day Programs getting their hands dirty – and loving it!
Bancroft has partnered with Saddlehill in Voorhees to offer the Integrated Arts and Employment Program, where participants will visit weekly and spend time planting herbs, vegetables and flowers, as well as preparing and maintaining the greenhouse.
South Jersey native Bill Green has transformed 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 were used to establish the environment for Bancroft’s day programming on the farm.
“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.”
Plans to expand the program include employment services and opportunities, and formal seasonal courses for the autism community.
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.