FORRESTON – Double H Farms of Ellis County celebrated its designation as a nonprofit organization Saturday evening with a launch party. Double H Farms recognized its students who participated in the summer camp program, honored volunteers and discussed its future as a nonprofit.

Founder Bev Hennessy said the launch party was a great way to introduce Double H Farms to the people of Ellis County.

“Everyone attending the launch not only got to see what we’re all about, but they were also able to meet our five summer camp participants,” Hennessy said. “By them being here, they were able to fully understand why we feel so passionate about this organization.”

Hennessy said she wanted all of those in attendance to understand their mission – to build a learning community in a holistic, farm setting where people with autism and intellectual disabilities have the opportunity to continue their personal growth and maturity.

Double H Farms hopes to use its rural atmosphere to help each student continue the life skills education they received while attending school. As a parent of twin boys with autism and seizure disorders, Hennessy said she has often wondered what would be available to them once they weren’t able to attend school any longer.

“We want to build a routine of daily living activities on a farm to support continuing education,” Hennessy said. “Our goal is to provide arts and crafts, cooking lessons, field trips and work-study programs through partnerships with other organizations in the community.”

She said she feels Double H Farms provides a solution which will also meet a need in the community. The farms’ students recently volunteered at Waxahachie Care and planted flowers at Ferris Heights Methodist Church.

“Ferris Heights has been a sponsor for this program and our organization,” she said. “When the church members said they would allow the kids to come out and plant flowers, we were thrilled. These are the sort of relationships we want to build with others in the community.”

After diligently researching ways to use the farm to meet the needs of the students, Hennessy was directed to two other farms. She said when she called each one, they were eager to assist her and answer any questions.

“After diligently researching and seeking available resources,  I reached out to farms in Ohio and Nebraska,” she said. “They were both providing a holistic service for children with autism and other disabilities. I loved what they were doing and thought it would be a great fit here in Ellis County.”

During the event, David and Shane Hennessy (Bev’s twin sons), Mike Settlemeyer, Zachary Ivie and Braxton Hayes received special recognition for attending the summer camp.

“We also want to celebrate the five young men who attended our first summer camp for people over the age of 21 who have autism or intellectual disabilities,” Hennesey said. “They had a great time as did the fantastic volunteers that donated their time, energy, experience and compassion to make the camp a great success.”

In addition to participating in activities on the farm, the campers went bowling and had lunch at Hilltop Lanes in Waxahachie. They visited Getzendaner Park and had lunch at Pizza Hut. They took a trip to  Campfire Creek Therapeutic Riding Center and groomed horses. They traveled to Dallas to visit the Perot Museum. Also Police Officer Mike McCorkle and his K-9 Jax visited the campers while they were at Ferris Heights church.

Hennessy concluded the launch party by thanking all those who volunteered during the summer, and she said she is looking forward to where the organization will go from now.

“We are anxious to thank all the wonderful people who have been absolutely fabulous to help us get the seeds of Double H Farms planted,” she said. “We appreciate them for working alongside us to grow a much needed resource here in Ellis County for people who have autism and intellectual disabilities.”

Hennesy said Double H Farms has already formed some wonderful partnerships that will continue to develop and make a difference not only for campers and their families, but for the entire community.

She added that it would not be possible without the other 3 founders, her sister Deborah and her Scott Green who are donating the farmland and Jessica Winningham, a special education teacher and sibling of a young man with multiple disabilities.

She also wanted to thank the board members for their continued support and efforts to make Double H Farms the best holistic farm in Texas. Those members are  president, Ashley Davis (parent), vice-president, Randy Odom (exec vice president of Texas Baptist Childrens Home), treasurer, Deborah Green (owner of The Greenery), secretary, Bev O’Daniel Hennessy (parent), and James Davis (parent), Scott Green (owner of The Greenery), and Emily Oliver (founder & director of Campfire Creek Therapeutic Riding Center).

Double H Farms offers campers lessons in planting, raising and harvesting vegetables, fruits and flowers; feeding, exercising and grooming of pets and farm animals; relaxation, enjoyment, therapy;?preparing meals, clean-up and dietary education.

The farm also has facilities for exercise and sports, a sensory room to calm and relax campers, and a computer lab/vocational tech lab. Equestrian therapy is also provided by a nearby therapeutic riding center.

Double H Farms is located at 1924 Lumpkin Road in Forreston. For more information about Double H Farms, contact Bev Hennessy at 469-337-6873 or email doublehafarmstx@gmail.com. You can also visit doublehfarmstx.org.

Follow Melissa on Facebook.com/MelissaCadeWDL. Contact her at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@waxahachietx.com.