Sept. 19 GLE

Page 12


ircling The Wagons For Special Needs By James A. Curtis

W hile Nancy Supran grew up in Chicago with a love of horses, nature, and outdoors, she had no idea her family had a farm in Free Soil, Michigan, since the 1930s. Originally her great-grandparents’ farm, it was long abandoned until a stranger showed interest in buying the property. That sparked Nancy’s family to build a house on the farm, and for her father to retire there in 1987. Nancy, a music teacher and choir director, instantly felt a pull to make it something extraordinary. “I always thought about turning it into a children’s farm, but never did,” said Supran. In 1993, Nancy and her parents were involved in a horrible car accident, leaving Nancy as the sole survivor of the crash, and with severe injuries of her own. “I wondered why God left me to live,” said Supran, “and I knew there was a purpose.” In 1995, Nancy began building Circle Rocking “S” Children’s Farm in Free Soil, a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing touch therapy and recreation for people with disabilities. The farm’s programs are free for people with special needs of all ages by appointment and are funded entirely through private donations. Now, more than 20 years later, the organization’s programs impact the lives of more than 1,000 individuals every


Kendra Lewis, Aurora Palcowski and Odin Palcowski enjoy some time with Circle Rocking “S” Farm’s chickens.

year from all over Western Michigan and beyond. The 40-acre farm—operated completely by volunteers and donations—features a working garden, sheep, rabbits, chickens, and year-round programming and events which has earned recognition from Ludington and Scottville Chamber’s community service awards, and the state of Michigan’s “Special Tribute Award.” As a professional music teacher and choir director, Supran leads the music therapy program and children’s farm choir, which practices weekly and performs at churches, fairs, and nursing homes. “The music therapy program is a great way to enhance motor and cognitive skills, and have a lot of fun,” said Supran. “For many, it’s the only opportunity they’ll have to perform, and the people they perform for really love hearing them.” Another program is the weekly farm day and 4-H programs, where participants learn about farm life, being responsible caregivers, and where food comes from. Participants clean, feed, and groom the animals, weed and water the garden, and watch it grow, and harvest their produce for farm-to-table meals.