Jeremy has always loved helping his mother around the yard with hands-on work. A Vaya Health member with an intellectual/developmental disability, Jeremy has turned his passion for keeping busy outdoors into a business: Jeremy’s Lawn and Garden. He’s starting with yard work services this fall but plans to diversify by adding fresh eggs and vegetables in the coming year.
Sherrie, Jeremy’s Alternative Family Living (AFL) staff, knows how hard Jeremy works and just how much he enjoys being outdoors. With a large property in the country, there’s plenty to do. Sherrie says she knows when he puts on his old jeans that he’s going out to do yard work, and he wears his old jeans quite a bit. Having his own business around this type of work has been a long-term goal for Jeremy, and his AFL placement is the perfect place for him to start.
“We have the accessibility for him to have chickens and to have a garden here,” said Sherrie. “We wanted that so he could have something off season when he’s not raking leaves. We felt like he would be more successful in this type of atmosphere than in a public job since he loves to garden.”
Though Jeremy wanted to start his business earlier by selling vegetables, things didn’t quite work out as planned. Working hard several hours a day every day during the spring and summer, he hoped to share an abundance of fresh produce. A lack of nutrients in the soil from years of previous gardens, too much rain, and a number of hungry wildlife (including a neighborhood cow) all kept that from happening. On top of it all, they returned from vacation to discover that his flock of ten chickens had been reduced to one. Despite the setbacks, if there’s one thing that describes Jeremy besides hard-working, it’s determined.
Extra protections were added to the chicken coop and another flock is being slowly introduced to the one he had left, which means fresh eggs are now available. Jeremy and his employment worker are studying soils and getting tips on how to correct the PH levels for a better harvest next year, and Sherrie is role playing with him to practice interacting with customers.
“He’s a hard worker and is very respectful,” said Sherrie. “His heart is in it, and I think he will be successful.”
Getting his business up and running and finishing his tasks one at a time give Jeremy a huge sense of accomplishment. He not only enjoys what he does, but he’s also meeting his goals, which gives him confidence. And it makes him happy.
“I want to get out there and make a name for myself,” said Jeremy.
If you are in the west Buncombe area, near Erwin Hills, you can give Jeremy a reason to put on his old jeans. Jeremy’s Lawn and Garden sells fresh eggs and provides lawn mowing, weed eating, raking leaves, planting, and shoveling sidewalks and driveways. Contact Jeremy for service details and pricing at firstname.lastname@example.org.