Testimonials

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
"Thank you for providing a nurturing, safe and fun environment for families. My children have enjoyed every minute at the farm. We look forward to many more summers." - Gwen Guzon
"Hand In Hand Farm has been a great encouragement to my family. At Hand In Hand Farm my four children thrive on hard work, clear instructions, firmly set guidelines and being surrounded by adults and young leaders who will follow through on a given direction or ruling. In this world we live in of rules and guidelines swaying like waves of the sea, this is truly a Steady and Safe place for them to experience life and learn more than the day to day at home has the blessing of teaching. In addition to all this, they bring in special speakers and trainers to show and teach the children about the real world." - Ellie Reimer

"I am very lucky to have a job I love, but I doubt I would be doing it today without the help of Hand In Hand Farm. This time last year, it was nearly impossible to balance the demands of work with having a special needs child. Every week, the school was calling, because my child's meltdowns interfered with school. It was rare for him to make it a week without having to leave school for behavior. I worried about going places. I did not decorate the house, because he would destroy anything out of place. I met Dave and Athena during Christmas break. They told me they offered classes and talked about how they could help my family. Our first day at the farm was very challenging. My son did not get the shovel he wanted, and he completely melted down. His meltdown lasted for 4-5 hours. Eventually, he realized it was not doing any good and he accepted the shovel he was given, did his work, and earned playtime. This was a good breakthrough. Dave and Athena showed me games and worked with my son on developing strategies to control himself. My husband and I went to parenting classes on Sundays. This December, my family is in a different place. My oldest son, who at 19 struggles with Asperger's syndrome, now does vocational training through Hand In Hand Farm. This place helps everyone! I do not worry about the school calling, or coming home from work, and my younger son having meltdowns for hours. Life is good. Hand In Hand Farm saved our family."
- Deborah Park

"My son has struggled in school both academically and socially since 1st grade. In 2nd grade he was diagnosed with "mild" ADHD. I requested testing for him, for an IEP (Individual Education Plan) from first through eighth grade, only to be told he was fine, he would catch up. My son was falling between the cracks in the public school system and I was desperately hanging onto the rope trying to keep those cracks from closing in on him. Well in 9th grade it was obvious my son was not going to make it to graduation without some serious help. He could not keep up with other kids in certain aspects of his academics and his attitude, which was generally great, was declining into a very opposing obstinate one that I couldn't abide. He began to attend the farm every Saturday and Dave and the staff worked with him in ways he could relate on improving his skills in communication and taking ownership and responsibility for himself and his decisions, good ones and bad ones. We learned he is a very hard worker. Though a work mentor program, my son was learning how to not only be responsible for himself but to be responsible and supervise others as well. Dave worked with him individually to find a vocation that could both satisfy my son's need to constantly be in motion as well as something that he could feel confident in his ability to excel at the job. Despite his marked improvement after starting to attend Hand In Hand Farm, my son was still just not up to speed in his school work. Dave decided he would work one on one with him beginning the very next day. I dropped my son off at 7:30am and at 10:30 I received a call from Dave Berger. In that call he said, "Mom, this is not, 'I won't'...this is, 'I can't.' Your son is functionally illiterate." Those words brought dread and elation. Finally someone else saw what I have been seeing. The folks at Hand In Hand Farm helped me present this case to the counselor and the IEP decision board and the ball was in motion. My son was tested by the district and it was determined he has a deficient short-term memory, visual, and spatial learning disabilities, all compounded by his ADHD. This would have NEVER happened if Hand In Hand Farm had not gotten involved and truly went the extra mile to help my son. My son now has the extra help he needs in school and although he still has his struggles, he knows he just has to work harder than some of his friends. But he no longer doubts his ability to succeed."
- Amy R. Dishaw
"Our son, who is 9, was showing signs of being on the Autism Spectrum before he reached his first birthday, and he was diagnosed at three...Some days he was the kind, thoughtful, sensitive, loving son we knew he was, but most days he would have extremely violent meltdowns that would, more often than not, take several hours to get under control. We lived in constant survival mode. We tried absolutely everything we could think of to get help for him nutritionally and therapy wise. When he started to get old it became very difficult to find childcare or schooling in our area that could handle him. I have known Dave Berger since I was a teenager and had been out to Hand In Hand Farm a few times, so at the end of the school year when we were absolutely desperate for an answer to his violent meltdowns, I gave him a call. He told me to bring him on out the next day and they would help. Our son spent a lot of time out at Hand In Hand Farm during Summer Camp, working with the staff and riding horses. Every day we could, my husband and/or I, with our daughter, were out there too, working, gaining insight, and learning on how to change our lives right alongside our son. Three months later, we celebrated in grand fashion our son's "90 day no meltdown" goal by going to the Wings and Wave Water Park. It is so wonderful to hear him keep telling us that he never wants to have another meltdown again, and that he would like to go back to the Water Park again when he has reached another 90 days. Before working with Dave, Athena, and the rest of the staff at Hand In Hand Farm, we were driving our son 45 minutes from our home to a wonderful school with a special class for kids on the Autism Spectrum whose student/teacher ratio was 1:1 or 1:2, depending on the day. Now though, he is in general ed at a nearby school operating in the class with limited support. He is adapting well, making friends, and thriving." - Matthew and Jolene Helget
 
"We found Hand in Hand Farm at an ideal time. My youngest son was behaving in a consistently violent way in every area of our day-to-day lives. At the Farm, both of my children, among several peer volunteers and apprentices, are provided the opportunity to perform jobs to channel their inner stress and mental disorganization, creating a sense of calm and accomplishment while learning life skills. Meanwhile, I am offered weekly instruction in a parenting style rooted in planning short and long term goals and expectations. With consistent support from the Farm everyday, my younger son is now able to follow instructions despite his state of regulation. Both of my children now have a greatly improved ability to articulate their internal dynamics using constructive language enabling the family/community to offer support, whilst maintaining a realistic level of accountability for themselves. - C. Shearer

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Hand in Hand Farm

35105 Ede Road
Lebanon, OR 97355

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