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Signs of Summer

July 1, 2018 - July 31, 2018

A month long organic farm internship for young people who are deaf


I am Patricia B Gans MD director of Trillium Deaf Program a small 501c3 working for the last 20 years to bridge the gap between Deaf and Hearing cultures. Transitioning from school to the world of work can be tough for anyone.  For Deaf youth this transition can be lonesome and terrifying due to communication challenges. In light of this, we are organizing a summer farm internship for Deaf students transitioning from high school to the mainstream world of work.  The idea is to create an opportunity similar to that which hearing kids enjoy as “woofers” working on organic farms for room and board and the joy of that first taste of independence.

For the program’s first year we are offering positions to five Deaf students for the full month of July 2018 at Meadowlark Hearth Farm, a Biodynamic third generation family farm in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Beth Everett and Nathan Corymb at Meadow Lark Hearth have lived in the Camphill Community, which serves the needs of developmentally challenged adults, for decades. When I inquired if the farm would host this program they replied, “We have wanted a program like this to be part of this farm for so long!”  What a joy to be so warmly welcomed rather than merely accommodated.

The participants will work and learn in a communication accessible environment as part of the larger farm community. Participants will teach American Sign Language to farm staff and we will all work together to build communication skills and strategies.  We will cook together, learn together, farm together, milk together, bake bread together, sell at the farmers market together and play together at the end of the day learning to appreciate each other’s gifts and challenges. Each participant will have the opportunity to become certified in CPR and basic first aid and to obtain their lifetime National Park Pass as well.

The experience will include education and hands on work with plant and soil science, crop management, harvesting, animal care, assisting with harvesting and selling of produce and possibly seed saving, building and food production. No previous experience is required.  Participants will camp in tents on the farm. The farm will provide organic food which will often be freshly harvested by the participants themselves. Participants will rotate through the kitchen helping with food preparation along with the rest of the farm community members.  Participants who are eligible for ESY (extended school year) may receive tutoring during the experience. They will need to bring a description of their needs from their school program. The experience will also qualify for community service hours.

Participants will be instructed and assist with the work of the farm six days a week. Saturdays and Sundays will have some scheduled activities and some time for rest. Mid day heat will be enjoyed by the lake swimming, kayaking and fishing or just relaxing along the shore. The farm is approximately 500 acres and includes a large nature preserve for hiking and exploration. The town of Scottsbluff is easily accessible for activities or occasional shopping. Nearby museums and historical wagon trails and rock formations will also be enjoyed.

Smoking, drugs and alcohol are strictly prohibited on the farm. Bullying or inappropriate social behaviors are strictly prohibited. Abuse of these restrictions will be grounds for dismissal from the program. We will be actively teaching and modeling respect, cooperation, determination, inclusivity, honesty, trust, gratitude, reverence and joy.  An essential goal of the program is to create and nurture a sense of caring community amongst the Deaf participants and also as part of a larger community on the farm. We will become stewards of the animals, the farm, the earth, our community and one another.

The program will be limited to five participants. Minimum age 18 years.

Program dates July 1—31, 2018.

For more information or application see our website trilliumdeafprogram.org.  Or contact us directly by email:  Trilliumdeafprogram@comcast.net  Follow us on Facebook: Trillium—A Deaf Program!


July 1, 2018
July 31, 2018
Event Category:


Living Environment Foundation


Meadowlark Hearth Farm
Scottsbluff, NE United States + Google Map