We are currently focused on rescuing senior and medically needy dogs but we are renovating our property to be able to rescue some farm animals as well! Below is the entire list of programs we aim to implement when we have the land and staff necessary to support these activities.

This video is the ASL version of the information in the graphic above. It is not captioned.

Humane Education Camp

Description: Deaf school children come to stay a weekend, or a week or two for hands-on animal care learning, which is tied into literacy activities that bolster their bilingual education (learning both English and ASL). What better way for them to experience the joys of caring for animals than in a place where they can communicate with everyone around them and ask anyone a question? We have camper and staff cabins on the farm, as well as a cafeteria. Kids spend their time rotating among the various barns, shadowing the animal care workers to learn about different species and their required care. Kids also spend time working in the gardens and will use our Community Room (a wing of the cafeteria) to do projects. The camp curriculum (developed by a Deaf educator) is child-centered. Each child will author his/her own learning by taking on projects from a viewpoint/ skill set that best fit him/her (art, science, math, storytelling, etc).

Rationale: Humane Education is something most Deaf children do not have a chance to learn or experience. DHH children in mainstream programs rarely have the opportunity to learn alongside their DHH peers. Many of these students are taught by Hearing adults, not Deaf adults, and do not have true access to curriculum due to language dysfluency among their teachers.

Benefits: Kids are surrounded by Deaf adults; farm staff, administration, contract workers, and organizational leaders. This fosters a sense of Deaf identity and community membership.
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Animal Rescue and Adoption

Description: We take in dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and chickens in need of rescue. Our dogs (including deaf dogs!) and cats come from local animal control facilities and are fully vetted and placed up for adoption. We also offer the community (Deaf or hearing) the opportunity to foster a dog or cat for us. The Adoption Center is part of the Welcome Center so that everyone who enters the farm can see animals waiting for their forever homes. We also have a sanctuary side of our farm where elderly dogs live out the rest of their days with plenty of comfort, medical care, and love.

Rationale: The pet overpopulation in our area is enormous. Euthanasia rates are high in most of our local, government-run animal control shelters. These dogs and cats deserve a chance to be saved and placed in loving homes. Farm animals sometimes suffer abuse and neglect and find themselves in need of rescue/ sanctuary, too. There currently are very few farm animal rescue organizations in the state of Georgia, so we are offering something that is sorely needed in our area. Old dogs deserve love, too. A large percentage of dogs put to sleep in animal control facilities are seniors, who are often overlooked by both adopters and rescuers. Senior dogs deserve to live out the end of their lives in comfort and care with people around to love them every day.

Benefits: The community at large has the opportunity to adopt a dog or cat companion who is healthy and fully vetted. The adoption center employs Deaf people. Hearing people who come to consider adopting a pet interact with Deaf staff, which hopefully changes their preconceived stereotypes about what it means to be Deaf. Staff also bring our adoptables to off-site locations for adoption events in the community, again increasing the general public’s positive exposure to Deaf people and ASL. This part of the program deepens our relationship with the larger community and encourages any hearing foster moms or dads to learn ASL. Having farm animals on the property is essential for our camps, as the kids are interacting with and learning from these animals every day.
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Online Educational Portal

Description: The Portal serves as a virtual learning space for remote DHH students around the country. It helps to eliminate the challenge of critical mass for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students across the country by creating a community of peers and role models to extend opportunities for growing the social, cultural, and navigational capital of these students. It engages kids of all age levels with live events and through archived lessons. These events and lessons touch on all academic content areas. A team of young Deaf filmmakers and journalists shoot, edit, and upload all the footage under the guidance of a team of mentors. This team also runs the online magazine and news center whose content comes directly from the Portal and goings-on at the farm. Virtual, interactive lessons within the Portal include animal care workshops, shadowing staff around the farm to learn about their jobs, interviews with Deaf business owners and Deaf organization leaders, and more. The Portal also serves to engage remote DHH children through interactive problem-solving challenges (based on needs at the farm), where they work either solo or in teams to submit their innovative solutions and can view all the other teams’ submissions and ask questions of one another. The Portal also has a dedicated repository for teachers and interpreters (offering CEUs), as well as for parents and for the Deaf community members at large.

Rationale: We do not wish for the camp to be an insular experience for a limited number of children. The Portal is a unique way to reach hundreds of DHH students around the country and allow them to experience the farm and meet Deaf adult role models there.

Benefits: The Deaf youth team learns entrepreneurial skills and learns how to collaborate and innovate as a collective. The Portal also brings in an outreach position to work with schools and families nationwide, a curriculum specialist, as well as several I.T. positions.
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Community Classes

Description: We offer classes such as art, yoga, gardening, scrapbooking, cooking, ASL, etc. all taught by Deaf instructors.

Rationale: Many Deaf individuals have expertise in topics that the community wants to learn about, but no way to earn money for teaching these topics.

Benefits: These classes provide employment for Deaf adults, outreach to the community (both Deaf and Hearing learning sign), and a source of income to support farm operations.

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Hearing Parents Immersion Experience

Description: This unique learning experience welcomes families of DHH children to experience Deaf people and their lives in a positive way. Families will engage in workshops and in activities on the farm.

Rationale: Many parents of deaf children lack the opportunity to see the kinds of lives and paths that await their children. Meeting and getting to know Deaf role models around the farm will help to solidify parents’ confidence in their child’s future.

Benefits: This experience helps to reframe any deficit-model thinking parents may have about their child and offers an open door into the community of Deaf people.

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Hearing Volunteers Orientation

Description: All volunteers and hearing families first participate in an orientation prior to engaging in farm activities. This half-day workshop includes basic sign language and visual communication strategies, Allyship, Deaf Culture, Deaf Gain, and answers questions they may have about DeafSpace and the philosophies behind our farm.

Rationale: In order to protect the farm as Deaf-Centric, it is crucial that hearing people wanting to spend time on the farm be armed with a well-rounded understanding of what the farm is all about and how to interact with Deaf children and adults from a place of respect.

Benefits: Participants gain a new understanding of Deaf people, learn strategies to communicate respectfully with them, and hopefully grow in their desire to act in ways that show they wish to be an ally to the community.

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Description: Large areas of cultivated land which serve as a learning opportunity for Deaf children (part of their camp experience), a point of sale for flowers and plants (benefiting the operations of the farm), and supply fresh food to the cafeteria & the B&B.

Rationale: Environmental awareness is an important part of a child’s education. Campers work the gardens to learn gardening skills, as well as examine where our food comes from every day and the importance of healthy eating and respecting the environment. Our cafeteria and B&B need fresh food daily.

Benefits: Our cafeteria (which feeds campers and staff) and the B&B are provided with fresh, organic foods. Campers gain knowledge and skills by working the gardens. Our farm has a small income stream from sales, which will also bring members of the general public to our farm to see what we do!

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Veterinary Clinic

Description: Staffed by a Deaf vet and vet tech, this clinic provides vet services to Deaf pet-owners and to the hearing community at large. The clinic also provides spay/neuter and other medical services to the animals on our farm.

Rationale: Deaf pet owners often do not have the opportunity to communicate fully or easily with their veterinarian. Having a Deaf vet means direct communication, full information, and having all your questions and concerns addressed. There is no signing Deaf vet in our state. Additionally, we need an on- site vet for the numerous needs of our rescue animals - from spay/neuter, to vaccinations, evaluating illnesses and treatments, medications, etc.

Benefits: Bringing a Deaf vet to our farm provides a career opportunity unlike any other for that vet and his/her vet techs (an internship site). The Deaf community is able to fully understand the needs of their pets and have all their concerns addressed. Hearing community members who choose to use our vet have positive exposure to another language and another way of being in the world.

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Deaf Art

Description: We commission Deaf artists to create works of art around the farm which reflect Deaf cultural values. We have a gallery in the welcome center where Deaf artists can have their work on display for sale.

Rationale: Deaf art is an important part of Deaf Culture. We aim to support Deaf artists in their trade by giving them an avenue, both at the farm and online, to promote and sell their work.

Benefits: Artists have an opportunity to highlight their talents and sell pieces of work. Deaf staff, children, and visitors are exposed to a variety of mediums, themes, and values in having the work of Deaf artists prominent around the farm.

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Description: Open to Deaf community at large; it is a place where organizations - be they local, regional or national - can come to hold their meetings in a DeafSpace, surrounded by animals and nature. Day use of the conference room or weekend/week long use of the entire lodge (equipped with sleeping rooms and a full kitchen).

Rationale: Deaf Organizations are accustomed to holding board meetings in various major cities’ hotels. Hotels come with dim lighting and carpeting that is visually incredibly distracting, full of swirling patterns and colors. For someone who lives life by eye, this environment is not conducive to conducting business. Our retreat center is built FOR Deaf people. There is great need for a Deaf-Centric meeting space available for rent, and we are fulfilling that need.

Benefits: The visual flow and comfort of the building and its surroundings allows Deaf organization members to use their full visual & mental energy on conducting the business at hand, rather than fighting with traditional distractions. Members are in DeafSpace, where they can make requests and suggestions to our staff directly and easily. Members can take advantage of the farm by utilizing breaks to pet on animals, visit with Deaf campers, relax in the coffee shop, or meet up with friends at the B&B. Hearing groups who utilize our lodge have the benefit of being exposed to and learning about Deaf Life, with the goal of making a positive impression/impact on any preconceived notions they may have about Deaf people.

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Bed and Breakfast

Description: Beautiful DeafSpace lodging for visitors.

Rationale: Our farm needs a way to accommodate visitors and to have these visitors stay in a place that is in alignment with our mission - a place that reflects DeafSpace.

Benefits: Couples, families, and single folks who are curious about our farm do not have to lodge elsewhere. Staying on the farm means visitors feel a stronger sense of connection to the community we have created and to our operations, and hopefully this encourages visitors to become supporters of the farm.

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Deaf-Owned Business Partnerships

Description: We partner with a variety of Deaf-owned businesses both onsite and online.

Rationale: Part of community vitality includes economic health. We promote Deaf-owned businesses in order to grow the economic base of the community.

Benefits: Business owners have opportunity to increase their visibility and income through these partnerships. These owners also serve as role models for Deaf children at the farm and through the portal.

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Thrift/Furniture Restoration Store

Description: A store with antiques and other items available for resale which operates in town to benefit our rescue operations and is staffed by Deaf people. This store also offers furniture restoration.

Rationale: Our farm needs exposure to the public and an income stream. Additionally, Deaf people need employment opportunities where the general public will interact with and learn from them.

Benefits: Provides public exposure for the farm, income stream, and employment for Deaf people.

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Description: We utilize our Deaf staff to post regular educational vlogs in ASL on YouTube about animal health and behavior.

Rationale: There currently are no informational videos in ASL about animal/pet health and behavior on YouTube. This broadens our reach to the Deaf community throughout the U.S. and fills a niche.

Benefits: We help to increase the knowledge base of Deaf pet owners around the country and thereby have a positive impact on the health and safety of pets owned by Deaf people.

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Description: We offer Deaf college students a variety of internship opportunities. Those pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine, business, architecture, early childhood education, information technology, or culinary arts can find placement with us.

Rationale: There are very few internship environments which embrace the linguistic and cultural identity of young Deaf adults and there are none that exist on a farm.

Benefits: Interns grow both intellectually and socially at our farm. They bring back what they have learned to their home communities, thus significantly broadening the impact of our work.

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Research Site

Description: We partner with Gallaudet and other universities to serve as a site for research projects and studies related to DeafSpace, Deaf ways of being, or Deaf enclaves.

Rationale: We believe in the possibility of making a contribution to what is currently a very small body of literature and research on what it means to be Deaf in a Deaf Space/Place.

Benefits: When articles and studies are published about our farm, it will give credence to the idea that what we are doing is not only valid and impactful, but replicable. There is no reason for our work to exist in isolation. Our work can become a model for other aspiring Deaf Enclaves around the country.

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