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The Farmers House Sophie Zimmerman

That one place that makes you happy. That one specific spot that every time you think of it you smile. You could be in the middle of a test and smile as the image of your happy place shines in your brain. Everyone has a place that makes them happy it could be as small as your room or as big as Zona Rosa. My happy place sits right outside of Weston, Missouri on a busy highway. My place smells like caramel apples and salt water taffy. It’s full of happy volunteers and interesting customers. My happy place is The Farmer's House, a non for profit store, right on the outside edge of town. The Farmer's House is a combined dream of Peach and David Cunningham, and Suzanne and Alan Zimmerman. The two families were introduced by fate. Anna Zimmerman and John David Cunningham, children with special disabilities from each family, met in preschool. Both of the families had concerns for their kids’ futures, like many parents do. Thus, The Farmer's House was born. It's a place where kids and young adults with special disabilities can live, work, play, and grow. They do arts, crafts, and cook, along with many other things at the farm.

It may come as a shocker, but I have a relationship with The Farmer's House other than a customer. Anna is my sister. I go help a lot out there at the farm with the cashier, cleaning, and greeting. It was 2010 the first time I went to the farm and as a 3rd grader nothing is really fun except playing with your friends. I didn't really love the farm at first because every time I went there my mom put me to work. After many years I began to enjoy going to the farm with friends and helping out. I also love connecting with the beautiful people who work out at the farm. My sister has made many friends like her out at the farm and I have learned a lot more about people with special disabilities. I love working with them and seeing how different they are then each other.

The moment I started to enjoy the farm and working there was at corn fest when I was in fifth grade. As my weird self I loved attention so I would do anything annoying and weird for laughs or attention. So when my mom asked me to dress up in a huge corn costume I was excited. The fact that it was a really heavy suit in the middle of the hot summer did not bother me. I was placed on the front porch and selling corn relish. David was with me helping me and telling me what to say and ask the customers. But even after he left I sold corn relish really well and my parents were impressed. Many people took photos with me (the corn) and some ended up on the Farmer's House website.

We ended up getting a second location in downtown weston the Farmers Market. It's a two story brick building that smells like pumpkin spice all the time. The Market is a really nice place to go when i'm sad because the energy and color in the store is so bright and happy. I remember Irish fest was right in front of the market. The green and red flashed by as many red heads walked by. “Sophie time to get in the dunk tank.” The words made me so happy as my mom pointed to the old fashion dunk tank on the side of the road. I sat on the wooden plank above the cold water on the hot summer day. I remember no one could aim and if they hit the button they didn't hit it hard enough to make me fall into the water. Until my idiotic brother decided hey let's ruin her day and scare the living Jesus out of her by chucking bean bags at her. Ya I ended up in the cold water. I also remember a lot of kids with disabilities running up and pushing the button. I loved to see their smiles and hear their laughs as I freezed in the cold H2O. The best part is getting to know all the farmers. Farmers is what we call the kids with disabilities.

Before the farm I only knew how to handle one person with special needs because I didn't know a lot of individuals with disabilities. I of course knew how handle my sister when she has seizures or gets angry. But meeting all the people at the farm has taught me that that everyone has different personalities and different things that tick them off. You have to be careful with what you say or do around some of them just like you have to do with someone without disabilities. The love that one of these individuals can give is so amazing and so is how different they all are.

After working at the farm for a while you relax around someone that might be different and embrace the difference. It got a lot easier to talk to some of them. Also I got to learn how to run a cash register and how to do yard work. It makes me feel good when I go there and get to be around all the great people. The farm has changed how I react to things or do things. It has grown so much and I feel like I have grown with it by getting more mature and helping out more. The farm has made me more responsible and patient.

I could never see a world without the farm or my sister. It has changed my life and my character. Being able to help and make these kids with disabilities happy feels amazing. Just being apart of the programs is great and going there makes me feel like i'm apart of something amazing besides the fact the biggest thing I do is stock shelves. There is just something about the farm that makes you feel special or important and I love being apart of it. -- Sophie Zimmerman


The Farmers House

Embracing, Enhancing, and Supporting the Lives of Youth and Adults with Developmental Disabilities (our Farmers)

23200 Highway 273 - Weston, MO  64098 - 816-800-9386
415 Main Street - Weston, MO  64098 - 816-640-3276
4740 Rainbow Blvd. - Westwood, KS 66205 - 913-283-8402

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A Place Where Exceptional Farmers

Live, Work, Play and Grow