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Mentorship On the Farm

Mentorship On the Farm

Categories: Blog, Community Partner, Featured News

Day-Habilitation Provides Mentorship to Jericho High School Students

On a warm, beautiful spring day at Wheatley Farms & Arts Center, Melissa Chan, Tristan Matuszak, Samantha Rubin, Caitlin Wilkenshoff and Brianna Klass were ready to welcome a group of Jericho High School Career & Employment Options students to the farm for an afternoon of animal care.

Jericho High School students working together with AHRC Nassau's Day-Habilitation at Wheatley Farms
Tristan shined as a leader during the afternoon of mentorship and volunteering

There was plenty of work to do around the farm. Buckets needed to be washed. The chickens and ducks needed to be fed. The goats and horses needed fresh water. There was also plenty of cleaning to do in the paddocks, among other tasks.

The afternoon began with happiness and excitement, as Melissa, a Jericho High School graduate, ran towards her former teachers and classmates.

“It was very fun,” Melissa said of seeing her former classmates and teachers. She was happy to teach her classmates everything she’s learned at the farm. “I like doing chores: feeding Caspian the Pig and the horses.”

Melissa, Tristan, Samantha, Caitlin and Brianna are supported by AHRC Nassau’s Day Services and spend time both on the farm and at the Greenhouse.  They were eager to partner up with the students to help them with their tasks.

“We’ve never had this opportunity before –  where people who are active at the farm and greenhouse are now able to teach what they’ve learned to others.  It was great to see that desire to be leaders and mentors for the students at Jericho,” said Jerri Walker, Volunteer and Project Coordinator. “I think they’re showing their pride. That’s been the nicest thing to see.”

Every mentor and student shined that afternoon. The mentors provided comfort and guidance to the students. And the students were optimistic as they tried something new.

“It’s a blessing to have the students here today because we’re getting a lot more stuff done than I expected just by myself,” Tristan said. “I love leading.”

A photo of Caitlin and Temi working together to clean the buckets.
Caitlin and Temi worked together to clean the buckets

The Jericho High School teachers were impressed by Tristan’s leadership and knowledge of Wheatley Farms. Tristan is known as a go-to for any farm-related questions, as he is skilled in animal care and knows where to find all the needed tools and supplies.

Not only is Wheatley Farms a great opportunity to be outside and learn about the environment, it’s also an opportunity to connect with people over shared interests.

The Jericho High School students will be returning every Tuesday through the rest of the school year for mentorship and volunteering.

“I know that the students were looking for another opportunity, and I thought working with mentors with similar abilities would be a great connection,” said Jenna Provenzano, a consultant to the district who helped organize the program. “I think the students can get inspired and think ‘that’s what I can do’ after they graduate and leave the Jericho High School program. They have an opportunity to be outside, work with their hands and do great things all day.”