There are many reasons to love my adopted hometown… notably the local artisans, volunteers, warriors, and businesses that make Elgin a better place.
As I write this post I realize that today, March 21st, is World Down Syndrome Day… Serendipity indeed.
INSPIRATION & CREATION
I recently had the opportunity to visit with Jerry and Judy Horton of Down Home Ranch, a working farm and ranch community for people with special needs. The Hortons’ daughter, Kelly, was born in 1984 with Down Syndrome, and they soon found themselves wondering about her future, and ultimately the adult lives of others with intellectual disabilities. As educators, their quest for knowledge and understanding drove them to learn all they could about Down Syndrome. Among their inspirations were L’Arche communities, founded in 1964 by Jean Vanier in France. The Hortons dreamed of a working ranch where adults with intellectual disabilities could work and live in a community of love, support and opportunity.
Staff member Travis Luker and Alaina haul bags of mulch
Many of the community members commute on the many bikes and adult-size trikes found around Down Home Ranch.
Volunteers working at one of eleven greenhouses
Down Home Ranch is a working farm and ranch community of about 40 adults and children, with and without intellectual disabilities, live and work together in their many greenhouses, gardens and pastures growing food, raising livestock and the daily chores that this requires of everyone. The Horton’s are working toward this being a self sustaining community… feeding themselves and others.
Plant label reads, “Grown with love at Down Home Ranch.
Locally, seasonal poinsettia sales are a source of revenue for DHR, as are year-round plant sales.
TAKE A DAY TRIP
Anyone within driving distance should hop into the car and visit Down Home Ranch to shop for drought tolerant plants.
For those of you that are not close enough to visit in person… I encourage you to watch this video