Corned Beef and Cabbage!

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Rainbow Acres is getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day festivities!

Our greenhouses are flowing with a great crop of cabbages this year, including the giant pictured, weighing in at 7 pounds yesterday!

cabbage grown at Rainbow Acres

7 pound cabbage!

 

This specimen will go into coleslaw tomorrow, but the up and coming heads of cabbage are on track for March 17th’s traditional celebration lunch of corned beef and cabbage. Yum!

Ranchers, staff members and volunteers work and have fun gardening in the three Rainbow Acres greenhouses, growing vegetables and herbs, as well as starting flowers and plants that beautify our campus. Lots of green thumbs and lots of love help feed and nurture everyone at this special place!

 

New Board Members for Rainbow Acres

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Last week the Rainbow Acres Board of Trustees met, with some members going off and being honored for their service at the dinner Thursday evening, and new members coming on board!

Nearly the entire Board for 2015 was in attendance!

Board for residential facility for DD adults

2015 Board of Trustees

In the photo, back row left to right: Steve Bils, Judith Glenn, Art Endres, Matt Kroona, John McDougald, John Napolitan, Tim Deatrick, Art Van Dyck, Bob Wheaton, Al Wright, Pedro Martinez and Ron Vachon-Vierra.  Front row left to right: Charity Matic, Mary Malicki, Judy Roughton, Claudia Ault, Linda Roos and Kathy Mikesh-Hauser.

Not pictured: Bob Crandall, Ray Harton, Steve Palmer and Lynn Wakefield.

Rainbow Acres is so blessed to have dedicated volunteers from across the U.S. as members of our Board of Trustees!

 

Life at Rainbow – Profiles Part 5

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Gary Wagner is the final Rainbow personality you should meet. As an ordained pastor and the current President and CEO, Gary has been at Rainbow Acres since 1996. If Ralph brought the dream for Rainbow, Gary has given it the legs to stand on! From his earliest days on ranch, Gary has made the Ranchers we serve the focus of Rainbow Acres. During his first year, he sat down with the Ranchers and asked them their priorities. Rooms of their own, homes with friends, and a chance to work were all part of their responses. After that, he began the process of turning their hopes and dreams into reality.

Pastor and leader

Gary Wagner, President and CEO of Rainbow Acres

 

From those roots of trailers in the desert, Gary has transformed Rainbow into the beautiful homes for adults with disabilities that it is today. Each Rancher has his/her own room, and shares a home with nine other friends and a caregiver. More than one third hold jobs off ranch, in the nearby communities of the Verde Valley.

Probably one of the things that best illustrates what makes Rainbow Acres so special can be seen as you take a tour around the ranch with Gary. Every Rancher knows him, and he knows every Rancher! Though several hundred men and women have called Rainbow Acres their home through his years at the ranch, Gary still can call each one by name. He can also tell you which city they came to Rainbow from, and who their family members are. Each has a story, a family and hopes and dreams. Gary knows them all, and cares for each one as an individual. None are just a face to him. Though nearly one hundred Ranchers currently live in the homes at Rainbow Acres, every one of them is treated as the individuals they are. Gary models the love of Christ in every interaction with those we serve.

Dignity and respect, safety and loving care are the hallmarks of life at Rainbow Acres!

Life at Rainbow – Profiles Part 4

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Another Special Olympics athlete is Pauline, who is pictured with a medal and trophy earned at 2014’s SO Basketball Regional Tournament. The trophy names her as the Most Inspirational Athlete at the tournament.

Special Olympic Medal

Pauline Guthrie proudly shows off her medal and Most Inspirational Athlete Award

Pauline came to Rainbow Acres after living most of her life with her mother. After her mother’s declining health made it impossible for her to stay there, her sister brought her to Rainbow. After having spent most of her life with family, Pauline struggled to adjust. Two things happened to help. First, she was given a job in both the Weaving Crew and in the Rainbow offices. In weaving, she began to learn how to use the looms to create beautiful placemats and scarves. Her creative side came out, and she quickly began to take pride in her work and now makes more difficult shawls and ruanas. In the offices, she became a valued member of the staff as the Rancher assigned to shred documents. She is always prompt, pleasant to work with, and sticks with the task until it is done. Pauline has even been known to work through breaks because she does not want to leave the job before it is completed. Once quiet and almost sullen, she now loves to tell you about where she grew up and what things she likes to do on ranch.

The second significant event was that Pauline became a valued member of the traveling choir. Working hard in practice, she taught herself to memorize the music and to blend her voice with the others. Pauline has had the chance to perform with the choir from Pasadena, California to Wisconsin and Indiana. Her dry sense of humor comes through when you get a chance to talk with her. It is great to watch her smile!

Pauline is one of seven Ranchers who have successfully demonstrated an ability to live semi-independently, in their own one-bedroom apartments. She enjoys preparing some of her own meals and having quiet evenings by herself, with the option of company and Rainbow Acres activities if she chooses to participate.

Life at Rainbow – Profiles Part 3

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Marcus is another great example of the spirit of Rainbow Acres. Brought to Rainbow in his teens by his case worker, Marcus knows Rainbow as his only family. Growing up, his Caseworker worked hard to protect him and to get him all the services that she could. Once he aged out of the school system, she feared he would be just one more special needs adult, and would fall through the cracks of society without a family to advocate for him and look out for his needs. Then she heard about Rainbow Acres.

Marcus has been at Rainbow since 1987. He has a sweet, charming smile, and a heart of gold. He is ALWAYS the first to volunteer for a job, and the first to lend a hand when you need help. During his time at Rainbow, he has served on many Crews. Probably his favorite though, is as Sous Chef in the kitchen. Marcus takes great pride in all he has learned there. A careful worker, he helps prepare exceptional soups and salads, and assists the Rainbow Chef in creating outstanding meals. He also lends a hand on the serving line and helps keep the kitchen clean and pots and pans washed.

Marcus received the Rancher of the Year Award in 2010, an honor given to a Rancher who exemplifies great character, compassion and treats others with Christian love and respect. We could each learn from Marcus when it comes to knowing how to be a friend! Marcus also earned a Gold Medal in the National Special Olympics Golf Competition in 2014 with his persistent practice and steady optimism.

Developmentally Disabled Man

Marcus at a Special Olympics event