LANSING, Mich. — This historic 138-year-old farmhouse in Williamston has a lot of history. There is good soil here and opportunities to create new and lasting memories. That’s what this week’s good neighbors, Mike and Roseann Bills plan to do. They have the vision to turn this farmhouse into something unique that could benefit a lot of people. They call their property Certain League Farms. Mike says it’s named after a special horse.
“We had a stallion that came to us from Texas, a breed leading stallion by the name of A Certain League. He had a broken neck, and he was going to be euthanized. He was given to us to repurpose and to rehabilitate. He has been our inspiration. So sometimes you have things that others may perceive as broken, we perceived as being valuable".
Mike and Roseann are converting Certain League Farms into a home for individuals with disabilities. The residents will live in the farmhouse and, if they are willing, help plant vegetables and take care of the animals.
“I have a special needs daughter. And when the special needs population ages over the public school system, there are very few if any options available for them. As a parent and trying to understand what’s next for your child, it’s very discouraging to find that there aren’t many options. And so, as we know, sometimes the best options are the ones we create, rather than the ones we accept.”
Twenty-Six-year-old Zachary Hodge has Autism and is non-verbal; twice a week, he visits Certain League Farm to help out. His mom Catherine says he loves it.
“He knows on which days he's coming. He's ready to go two hours before it's time to come. He is very satisfied at the end of the day. He just enjoys the work. He's learning quickly the things that he needs to know how to do. It's a good fit. It is training for Zachary. He is learning skills that other people may be can pick up a lot more rapidly. He needs the time to practice those skills. And he needs the ability to generalize those skills to other settings. So, for him, this is a training program.”
Catherine says she is preparing Zachary to move to Certain League Farm on a permanent basis. Mike and Rosanne are also looking for a couple more individuals to join Zackary.
“We really believe in this project. Because as we looked forward to our son's adult life, we, we were faced with what would that look like for him? He has autism, and he is essentially nonverbal. But he has a lot of skills. And we wanted something where his life was meaningful, where he was able to have that same level of independence that other people his age has. If you ask most 26-year-olds, do they want to live with their parents for the rest of their lives? They probably will give you a resounding no. And we wanted the same thing for our son. We want him to feel like he belongs to the community. We want him to feel like he's giving back to the community as well. And that his day has been meaningful that he enjoys his job, and then he can have friends."
If you would like more information on Certain League Farms, you can reach out to Mike Bills at 517-449-0457 or visiting certainleaguefarms.com. We also have this information for you on fox 47 news dot com slash good neighbors.
Mike and Roseann Bills, because of your dedication to helping people with disabilities, you are this week’s Good Neighbors.
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