WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A Monmouth County farm that provides unique experiences and socialization for special and at risk kids is hoping to grow as the need for similar sanctuaries increases.
David Havens is more than just a tour guide at Allaire Community Farm. The 20-year-old with autism just graduated from Manasquan High School, and the farm gives him a new sense of purpose and happiness.
“He’s been able to express his compassion in a way that he was never able to do so before,” his mom, Jennifer Liwes, told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
JoAnn and Sean Burney run the Wall Township farm, and say they rescue animals to rescue kids. Their goal is to help everyone reach their full potential.
One of David’s duties on the farm is to feed the goats. On the whole, the farm allows community members to learn how to grow crops and care for and maintain animals.
Animals like Gracie, a therapy cow.
“She was ten months when I met her,” David said. “She was just a baby.”
Terrence Rosheuvel’s son, Steven, is 34 and has autism. He says while his son is enjoying riding horses, he is also learning life skills.
“You never get the feeling any kind of judging is going on,” he said. “People are who they are.”
Allison Monte’s son, Cole, was non-verbal before visiting the farm.
“It’s been wonderful, as a parent, to see your child succeed,” she said.
The Burney’s have acquired the land next door to expand, but are still in need of funding for new barns and buildings which will allow them to host people year round. The plan includes making the farm completely wheelchair accessible, a huge bonus for many of the people there.
The total cost of the project is more than $2 million, and the Burneys say they hope to raise enough money so that they can pay special needs and at risk people to work on the farm as employees. For now, anyone can volunteer there.