A MONTH OF DISCOVERY AUGUST 2023
Friends and Supporters,
Just like that, summer of 2023 is in the books. And while it hasn’t officially ended, we’ve already welcomed the start of another wonderful school year and the many new memories it will bring along with it.
Before we jump in, let’s look back at the many wonders of August – the smiles of summer, a new website to showcase our groundbreaking work, updates from Sweet Hill Farm, and much, much more.
Here’s a brief look back at what The Center has been up to:
There’s Still Time to Share our Capital Campaign with your Network
Our Season of Renewal capital campaign for capital improvements across The Center is still going strong! For the past few months, we’ve been highlighting through our Campaign Camera The Center’s groundbreaking and incredible work across multiple different departments. If you missed the campaign videos, check them out here:https://thecenterfordiscovery.org/season-of-renewal/.
As always, don’t forget to share this with your network of friends and family members, as the campaign will be winding down soon.
Our Campaign ends September 30th, so there is still time to donate.
Where in The Center is Dr. Terry Hamlin? Sweet Hill Farm, That’s Where!
Coming to us live from Sweet Hill Farm! During a recent family webinar, Terry was joined by Autumn Ackerman, Director of Farm Operations, and Amanda Ward, Chief of People Operations.
Autumn was thrilled to provide on update on everything that’s been going on at Sweet Hill – a hidden treasure here within TCFD. Spread across 150 acres overlooking the beautiful Catskill Mountains, Sweet Hill’s daily activities for its residents, along with Day Hab groups and TCFD students, consist of farm-based vocational work with animals like beef cows, fiber sheep, and dairy goats. In fact, about 3 years ago, Sweet Hill became home to two goats, who were bred, and now there are 15 in total. This has expanded into The Center’s official dairy goat program, which reaches all corners of The Center. What is most exciting about this program is the number of unique, educational opportunities it provides to the residents who live at Sweet Hill. Each day, they milk, feed, and provide care to the goats. The residents even participated in two goat shows – one in Rhineback and the other in Grahamsville – showcasing their in-depth goat knowledge. Another incredible aspect of Sweet Hill is its “kitchen garden.” All produce is grown and harvested by the residents, and used in their daily meals – a true Seed to Belly® model. Despite it being the furthest location from our main campus, Sweet Hill is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and manages to impress us each and every day.
Next up was Amanda Ward, who has been with The Center for 17 years. Amanda was pleased to share an update on all-things recruitment and how we’re working on bringing qualified, new talent to work at TCFD.
Raise your hand if you’ve seen our Recruitment team out and about within the community! Whether it’s the bagel and blueberry festivals, visits with local high schools, street marketing at various events, or local fairs, Amanda shared that the team is alive with enthusiasm. At its core, they are focused on building genuine relationships with candidates. Currently, they’ve partnered with Workforce Development to hold in-person interviews once a month. Amanda also shared that the team is diligently working with the local Job Corps to help source candidates. If you know off someone looking for their next career, reach out to Careers@tcfd.org.
In addition, we’ve introduced exciting new benefits into our package here at TCFD. We recently rolled out a staff discount card and we continue to offer TCFD Cares to those to our staff who need it most for things like housing, food shortages, family and/or medical emergencies, or more. One other benefit is ensuring each staff member – and their families – have access to mental health services, which is part of our Employee Assistance Program.
Another topic that was mentioned was our Ride Share program, where employees can sign up for transportation to and from work for their shift – safely and reliably – and at no cost. Amanda shared that so many of our staff members depend on this incredible benefit and are so thankful for it. It is an unfunded area here at The Center, but it’s imperative that staff have a way to get to work in order to care for the individuals who live here.
We’re excited to announce a new series – TCFD Testimonials – that highlights staff members at TCFD and their real stories and journeys into the workforce. Hear about their unique career growth, what they’re most inspired about working at The Center, and more. Watch the testimonials here and be on the lookout on social media for new releases: https://thecenterfordiscovery.org/careers/.
Don’t Forget to Check Out our New Website
That’s right – it’s fresh, it’s fun, and it’s LIVE.
When you visit www.thecenterfordiscovery.org, you’ll discover new content, compelling and vibrant design features, new functionality, and a robust platform for our inspiring and incredible work. Head on over and check it out for yourself.
DIG IT WRAPS UP FOR THE SUMMER SEASON
Another year in the books for our DIG IT program! In case you hadn’t heard, the Discovery Innovation Green Team (DIG IT) is a summer program for teens ages 15-17, with the goal of empowering youth with leadership skills aimed at creating a healthier planet, exploring career paths, and achieving personal health and wellness. This summer, we were thrilled to have 27 DIG IT interns across 19 departments at The Center. We are so proud to be able to offer this program to our employees’ children, and can’t wait to hear about their bright futures.
DIG IT Program Coordinator and Recreation Specialist, Cherene Padua, summed up the program so well. “The enthusiasm and engagement that I saw from the 27 teens participating in DIG IT his year was astounding. Having a wider variety of apprenticeship opportunities allowed teens to participate in a program that they were genuinely interested in. This made it a positive experience for teens, their parents, and the mentors providing the apprenticeships. In addition, the group community service projects allowed the teens to build meaningful social dynamics, learn new hands-on skills, and contribute to the wellbeing of The Center and its residents. It was a wildly fun and productive summer!”
Fun with Camp Activities & Games
Our Assistive Tech team collaborated with TCFD’s Summer Camp for a Maker’s Challenge to design and build a variety of adapted games. The campers worked to design the look, create the rules of play, and build a jumbo Kerplunk, Tic-Tac-Toe-Toss, and magnetic Go-Fish! game.
The design and fabrication process was a huge part of this experience for the Camp group. After the completion and the initial use demonstrations, the students spent time playing each other in fun competitions. A few of our Center students even stopped by and watched as the camp students explained how the games work and demonstrated them live.
A Sweep from Sweet Hill
Sweet Hill Farn recently participated in The Little World’s Fair in Grahamsville, NY. Residents, with the help of Dawn Krenner, Farm Program Coordinator, prepared baked goods to enter in the open baking division. Each resident chose a recipe using products from Sweet Hill Farm (goat cheese, zucchini, carrots, and maple syrup – to name a few) and we are happy to report that they dominated the baking division! Sweet Hill took first place in cakes, pies, and cookies, a second in yeast breads, and a third in both muffins and quick breads. We are SO proud!
Following the baking content, they entered the open goat show and then took home most of the championships.