Fellinlove Farm is a nonprofit organization with the mission to improve guests’ quality of life by providing dynamic experiences for all ages and abilities through hands-on interactions with diverse animals; socialization and educational opportunities; and outdoor discoveries of nature in a serene setting.
Fellinlove is a small family farm that is home to three rare Fell ponies and more. The farm provides educational opportunities for people of all ages, socioeconomic levels, backgrounds and abilities with a focus on children and adults with diverse needs.
Fellinlove Farm has been providing adaptive farm field trips since April 2012; it became a nonprofit organization in June 2017, and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in May 2018. The farm is located on over 11 wooded acres in Holland, and also has ponds and a ¾ mile trail.
Meet Cheryl Kaletka, executive director and founder
How did you get started with Fellinlove Farm?
As a former education professor (19 years); a parent of young adults with unique needs (oldest daughter with seizure disorder; youngest daughter with Down syndrome/repaired severe heart defects); and a caregiver to aging mother (in her 90s) and father who passed away from dementia, I carefully designed and developed this farm to socially, physically, recreationally, mentally, emotionally and aesthetically benefit our family and guests who may live with similar concerns.
What impact does Fellinlove Farm have on the community?
We welcome seniors from assisted living facilities for adaptive tours throughout late spring–early fall, where much of the tour of the diverse animals involves a visit to pastures with a small bus, and then a stationary tour where we bring all the different animals to our guests through an “animal parade” on a patio by a koi pond.
Since June 2017, young Fellinlove Farm-ers — a group of children from 7 to 14 years old — meet weekly at the farm. Fifteen–18-year-olds act as supervisors; children 0–6 years of age attend with their parents or adult friends. Each Saturday morning, children help with chores and enjoy interacting with our diverse animals. These activities promote teamwork and collaboration among the participants. Parents of children who have been a part of this work group have communicated how their children enjoy and benefit from the experiences at the farm.
Our FUNdraising efforts have allowed us to provide exciting opportunities to publicly share the farm, create beautiful memories and raise critical funds. Yoga with Goats + Piggies (wiener dogs, kitties and tortoises visit too), and Unicorn & Mermaid Events are two popular experiences (private bookings are also available). In 2020, we added nature trail experiences.
Why this matters
Many people benefit from our organization! Each field trip/tour considers the array of interests and needs of our guests. We use professional knowledge and personal background to provide individualized connection experiences with gentle animals of many different species. We use a “hands-on device” virtual tour before field trips to reduce anxiety/fear in some of our guests.
We consider our guests’ preferred learning style, specific concerns (autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, cognitive impairment, vision impairment, hearing impairment, mobility impairment, other health impairment, severe multiple impairments, emotional/ behavior concerns, mental health needs/trauma, etc.); their learning stages with animals (awareness, exploration, inquiry, utilization), among other factors.
How you can help
Our volunteer base continues to grow with increased awareness of our farm and its programs. Children and adults of all ages and abilities assist with events and/or chores/animal care on the farm.