Dawn Farm, Ypsilanti’s local treatment center for substance abuse users, is getting a new “green” update.
Matt Kadwell, owner of Sumpter Solar Services, LLC has been a big supporter of the farm for many years and has been looking for a way to give back since 2017. With the help of Kadwell and a GoFundMe fundraiser, 20 new solar panels were donated to Dawn Farm. Sumpter Solar Services donated their time and labor to do the design and instillation work.
“The whole project was very community-based,” Olivia Vigiletti, development director of Dawn Farm, said in an interview with the Echo.
“I asked him (Kadwell) the other day, ‘What’s your goal?’" Vigiletti said. "He said ‘Well your utility bill for all of your facilities is $200,000 so I’ll stop when we have saved (Dawn Farm) $200,000.”
According to Vigiletti, the solar panels, which were installed mid-June, are already making an impact by reducing the cost of the farm’s daily utility bills. Over the next 20 years, the panels are expected to save the treatment center more than $2,000 per year.
As supporters of the farm and employees keep working to raise money through fundraising, their goal is to eventually reach up to 500 solar panels.
Dawn Farm is a non-profit addiction center founded in 1973 in Ypsilanti. Dawn Farm has been serving Ypsilanti and Washtenaw county ever since. They promote their clause that every addiction should be thought as the same whether it is drugs, alcohol or etc. They do not turn anyone down based on their ability to pay for treatment, and will help anyone in need.
Dawn Farm offers a 90-day stay for its clients and everything is community oriented.
The client’s first month starts with being assigned to a therapist. From there the client is connected to people in the recovering community; from sponsors being available to take clients to meetings, to calling other support groups to come and talk about everyday life problems.
From there, during the last couple months the clients take on leadership roles around the farm and help out the newer clients to show them it is possible to recover from anything.
Dawn Farm offers activities within the actual farm for the clients. They teach clients how to work with animals and promote teamwork to take care of the farm. Gardening is also offered for the clients to grow fresh fruits and vegetables for the salad bar inside the facility.
According to Vigiletti, none of the activities are required; they let their clients do what they are comfortable with.
“It’s a great experience for everyone and I love it because it’s so unique and not something you see every day in Ypsilanti,“ Vigiletti said. "I’m excited for the future Dawn Farm can bring to new people.”
As for the future, Vigiletti said more "green” plans are in the works for the farm.
“The president of Dawn Farm, Jim Balmer, says his goal before he retires is to riddance “grey water” and find a way to recycle it,” Vigiletti said.
For more information on Dawn Farms, visit https://www.dawnfarm.org/.