Help build a mini-farm for our son who has special needs

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Location: Arroyo Grande, United States


We are a family of 5: my husband and I have 3 boys, ages 16, 14 and 8 and we have a golden retriever dog and a kitten and a bunch of chickens. Our middle son has a genetic syndrome with developmental delay, kind of similar to Down's Syndrome. He is learning self-help and independence skills and absolutely adores people. We have a dream of creating a life for him that helps to accomplish two goals: connection to community and to be productive during the day with a purpose in life. With those goals in mind, we'd like to create Team Jonas to build a mini-farm for him. We envision a place where young adults with special needs can come to work in a supportive and happy place! We also need help maintaining our home and our property. A rough estimate is that you may spend about half of your time working on a project for Jonas's Farm and half of the time working on an upkeep project or general maintenance and housework around our home. Come and help build Jonas Shares Joy!

This fall & winter 2018/2019 project ideas: cutting back plants & pruning for winter, wrapping young citrus and avocado trees in frost protection, planting new fruit trees and berries, clean up an area (trim up trees, chicken proof the fence) to make a larger chicken run, make and paint plant signs (names of vegetables & trees), maybe make a Jonas Shares Joy sign for the front yard.

Spring 2019: lots of planting
Summer 2019: Mom & 2 boys (16 and 8 year old) will be traveling for the summer and dad and Jonas will be at home. We need someone who can stay for the whole summer to maintain and harvest the gardens and fruit, feed chickens, collect eggs, and help with keeping the house and project running smoothly. Dad & Jonas will also join the rest of the family for 2 weeks and during those 2 weeks, we'll need you to house sit.

We'd like to trade a space in a tiny house on our property and meals for 5 hours of help per day for 5 days per week. You'll need to work independently, by yourself much of the time while we are busy with work and school. We will help with tasks at other times, when we are home. For meals, we'll provide food for breakfasts and lunches, but everyone prepares their own food. The mid-afternoon or evening meal will be communal when we all eat together. We see meal preparation as a group project and while it won't be a part of the 5 hours of volunteering, we'd love help and can prepare the evening meal together.

You will know what it is like to be in an American family! We're happy to share our life with you and hope that you will join with us in family outings and activities that we participate in. You will learn about life in the United States and in California, in particular. By joining with our family, you will also learn a lot about living and loving a person with special needs and the family dynamics (and challenges) that go along with that and experience the joy and connection that our special little guy brings to everyone who knows him. You'll also have the chance to live in one of the most beautiful places in the United States, the central coast of California, while also learning about landscaping, gardening practices, and maybe some construction projects. We love to travel, love other languages, and know that we can all learn from each other!

We live in paradise! The beautiful central coast of California! It is a nature-lover's paradise with the beach nearby (Pismo Beach and Avila Beach), numerous hiking trails, and other famous tourist sites, including San Luis Obispo with it's fun Thursday night Farmer's Market, numerous live music concerts outdoors, Hearst Castle up the coast, we are surrounded by California wine country, and Santa Barbara is just a 1.5 hour drive to the south. We are quite far from a big city, but we have numerous middle-sized cities all around us! We live in a neighborhood (other houses close by), but we're about a 5 minute drive from the center of town. Within 10 minutes walking distance of our house there are three restaurants (a bbq steak house, a pizza place, and a Mexican food restaurant), a grocery store, and a gas station with a mini-market. We don't have good public transportation connections, but we're happy to loan out our extra vehicle for your days off, if you pay for the gasoline or you can ride with Cindy to San Luis Obispo on your days off.
We have a couple of bicycles you can borrow too.
Please note that we do enjoy beer and wine, but we absolutely do not tolerate marijuana or other drug use. We don't accept volunteers from the United States, as the cultural exchange aspect of this program is of primary importance to us. Thank you for understanding! :-)

Email me and I'll send more details!

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