A Place to Work in the Country

A Working Farm in Rougemont, Quebec

The public system has been very adept in finding stimulating work training and regular work places in the normal work community. The era of sheltered workshops dotting our towns and cities is over. Workshops are being shut down left and right and innovative ways of integrating disabled adults into the work force are being put into place. This being said, our public service system operates in a vast territory where countryside and farmland abound; however, few work opportunities are available on our farms. It is as if our farms and farming work activities did not exist. This may be a problem due to the fact that urban professionals are planning the services for disabled people who also live in urban areas.

At the same time, it is self-evident that a farm offers a wide range of work opportunities from animal husbandry to gardening to tending crops and orchards which can be stimulating to people with an intellectual disability. A preliminary analysis of the problem has lead us to the conclusion that opportunity to work on farms is limited because the system does not have access to farms. Secondly, intellectually disabled people with a severe behavioral problem may not be able to find work in an urban setting for security/safety reasons. The possibility of working on a farm would open up new work possibilities for this type of person and provide an environment within which the person could relax and feel more secure.

In order to complete the range of options within the public service system for work training and job placement, and to do justice to the farmland available within our vast territory, the Butters Foundation has determined that there is a pressing need for access to a farm, centrally located within the public system. With the dollars solicited during the last major campaign, the Foundation, through its sister organization, Butters Homes Inc., purchased a 100 hectare farm on the outskirts of Rougemont, Quebec, along Route 112. This property is presently being renovated to accommodate up-to eight adolescents and adults in single bedrooms. Our public establishment partner, the CRDI Monteregie-Est, will offer a respite service to families within the system for periods of days, weeks or months. These clients will be offered to live in a farm environment and participate in regular farming activities.

Farm_entrance_sign.jpg

The service opened in the late Fall of 2010 after a well-attended inaugural event on Friday, June 18th, 2010. The event was frequented by the major donors, representatives of the Butters Foundation and the public rehab system, including the Minister Delegate of Social Services, Mme Lise Thériault. See the communique and the press clipping for more information, (in French only). The Minister cut the ribbon to inaugurate the project and a sign and a plaque were unveiled to honor our major donor and the inspiration of the project, the late Pam Dunn,(see accompanying photos).

dsc_3806

Photo Highlights of 2016

 

The Rougemont Farm Respite Service, in 2015, served 57 families on a regular basis, with usually 6 or 7 clients each weekend. Activities included regular farm activities caring for 24 farm animals and a host of domestic animals, as well as other farm activities and recreational activities in the area. The service racked up 810 nights (24 hr) of respite service for families in the area and even as far away as Montreal in 2015.

During the 6 weeks of summer, the service accepts weekly visits. Each summer Mr. Viau and his family organize a trip for around 7 clients, with money accumulated over the course of the year. This year (July 2016) they went to Quebec City, (see photos above).

Access to and caring for animals has always been an important element of this service, supported in large part by the Pam Dunn Memorial Fund of the Butters Foundation, (see Fund section of the website).

Photo Highlights of 2015

 

Photo Highlights of 2014

TRIP TO CUBA – MAY 2014

In December of 2013 we launched a new project at the Rougemont farm. We decided to solicit funds for a totally new experience for 6 regular users of our service, a week-long trip to Cuba. On top of providing a week of respite for parents and siblings, the trip would give them an experience far from home and allow them to bonds with other respite service users.

They were responsible for soliciting the funds to finance their own trip. This mainly occurred while they were at the farm site: visits to local stores and organization of special events. They were able to accumulate over $12,000 in less than 6 months, enough to finance the trip in its entirety.
This was a great experience for everyone involved. We would like to be able to repeat this project every two years. The continued support of our many donors will be essential to future projects.

Thanks for all your help,
Jérôme Viau

groupe plage

 

Rougemont Country Respite Service-2013

2013 was a very good year for this respite service situated off Rt, 112 between Rougemont and Granby. 44 families are currently members and receive a service each month. 2013 saw the addition of up to a maximum of 25 animals, including, at the moment, 3 horses, 4 goats, a duck and a myriad of rabbits and chickens. An animal therapist comes on a regular basis to work with the clients/workers. In order to take full advantage of the terrain and climate, a boat on an adjacent lake has been added to the repertoire of the service in the summer, as well as skidoos on the property in the winter. The sugar shack will also be fully operational as spring approaches.

According to the host, Mr. Jerome Viau, there is a growing wait list for his services, though he prefers to call it an “on-call list”, going to the list when a client calls in to cancel at the last moment. For more information on the service, you can consult their website: www.repitcampagne.com

With the collaboration of parents, a group of 6 clients and 5 supervisors are planning a vacation in Cuba in May, hopefully before the hurricane season rolls in.

 

Check out the photos below.

 

055 (2) 022

 

123

 

N.B. Jerome and his team are constantly organizing trips and other activities that require extra money. Parents cannot always cover all the expenses of making respite stays fun and exciting. The Butters Foundation has teamed up with Jerome to help him raise funds for these trips and events. Donations can be sent to the office with instructions to target the Country Respite Project, or donors can use the Canada Helps button on the website. As mentioned above, the next trip is a voyage to Cuba in May, 2014. Jerome sends greetings.