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Our Community Work & Service Program is rooted in the healing power of social engagement and being a part of a community. Working on crews alongside their peers and a leader from the staff, residents dedicate 20 hours a week to purposeful work, contributing to daily life at CooperRiis. This experience offers an opportunity for our residents to be a part of something bigger than themselves, enjoy how meaningful it can be to give back; and for some, it’s a first time being part of a team where others depend on them. 

Many aspects of our program have been affected by COVID-19, but our CWS Crews on our Farm Campus have not. We checked in with Nolan Just, our Community Work and Service Coordinator for an update. 

“Our Community Work and Service program carries on mostly unchanged. It’s comforting to know that the seasons continue their cycle and life continues to flourish on the farm. The routines of caring for the plants and animals remain the same. 

In the garden, we have finished planting the last of our summer crops and have begun harvesting early tomatoes and cucumbers. We are in the middle of a bumper crop of blueberries and plums. Our apples, peach, and pear trees have set good fruit and are growing for a late summer, early fall harvest. The garden has been donating extra produce to Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry who provides food to families in the area. 

The greenhouse potted the mums that will decorate the campus in the fall. They continue to provide the kitchen with fresh herbs and micro greens for the salad bar.

The animal crew is excitedly watching one of our ducks, McFly, lay on a clutch of eggs. We are hoping for some new ducklings soon! We sheared our sheep for the summer and have several bags of wool to process. They seem relieved to shed their winter coats.

The wood shop has taken on several jobs to provide the community with activities while we are limiting outings. We now have beautifully painted new corn hole boards and an archery range. The wood shop also finished building two new stalls in the animal barn so we can bring all the animals in when there is inclement weather.”

Thank you Nolan for these updates. It’s amazing to think about how much has changed in our world in such a short amount of time, and yet one of the main tenets of our recovery approach remains untouched.

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