Not far from my farm is an amazing place for people who overflow with enthusiasm, innocence and possibilities. These people are called developmentally disabled by society, but really, they're just wonderful folks who enjoy life. They live at a ranch called Triangle Cross Ranch and I think they're the luckiest of people to be there. At the Ranch, they raise two alpacas, 9 angora goats, a cat, seven bunnies and two horses. They do the chores, process the wool from their animals into felt, participate in Special Olympics, volunteer at the local food bank, clean the local park every week, keep the houses clean, go to social gatherings, and basically live as "normal" a life as they possibly can. Most don't know they're disabled because they are such an accepted part of their local community.
The goal of the Ranch is "to create a new definition of normal..." I just love that and I think they're really doing a good job of it. The residents are generally happy people who live with purpose and anticipation of what the next day holds. Here's the acrostic that describes life at the Ranch. N - Necessary to the community; O - Oriented to daily life; R - Realistic in expectations; M - Moral in action; A - Abilities beyond disabilities; L - Loved beyond measure.
If this sounds like an advertisement for the Ranch, forgive me. I just think it's an absolutely amazing place and I wonder at the families that are willing for their family member to sit all day long in an institutional setting and watch videos or play cards.
Triangle Cross Ranch doesn't receive any federal funding to do what they do, so the fund raising is an ongoing effort, as is the volunteer search. Obviously, my family and I are quite involved at TCR. My girls are quite at home there among the residents and staff. It's actually a safe haven for us when life overwhelms. It's an escape into contentment and a simpler existence.