Road To Independence, Inc. provides vocational training for individuals with differing abilities through non-riding equine, horticultural, and agricultural programs, as well as similar pursuits instilling confidence and self-sufficiency.
Through our program options, individuals with differing abilities learn, practice and master life skills that build self-confidence and self-esteem. We see our vocational training program as a starting point on the road to independence and a productive life within the community.
In general, our programs increase communication and listening skills, as well as self-awareness in a farm setting with an emphasis on following proper procedures at a work site.
Our horticultural program provides individuals with the skills necessary to raise from seed or transplant a variety of garden vegetables and other plants.
Our participants are taught to plant, weed, water and harvest vegetable and flower gardens.
They also gain experience working with the public and handling money while selling the crops they grow at the Newport Farmers Market.
In our non-riding equine program, participants work with donkeys. We teach the skills necessary to do ground work with and around the equines. These skills include grooming, haltering, and leading.
Our program offers participants the opportunity to exhibit the donkeys at the Newport Farmers Market, local parades, and at a local donkey show.
Through a various farm projects such as building a woodstack, cleaning stalls, tack maintenance, or brush clearing,
the underlying life skills such as communication, teamwork and following proper procedures are emphasized.
Community involvement is an integral part of the Road To Independence program. For the past five seasons Road to Independence participants have maintained a weekly booth every Friday at the Newport Farmers’ Market.
The donkeys also join us at the Farmers’ Market and participants demonstrate their handling skills to the public.
In addition to the Farmers’ Market, RTI participants and the donkeys have participated in the Unity, NH Old Home Parade,
The Wassail Parade in Woodstock, VT, the Grantham, NH 4th of July Parade, and in the Winter Carnival Parade in Newport, NH.
Participants have competed for the past four years in a show for donkeys and mules in Alstead, NH and put on a donkey demonstration at the Cornish Fair in Cornish, NH. This past summer we put on a demonstration at Full Circle Farm in North Newport, NH.
We have started a new aspect of RTI our “On The Road” program. We visit Summercrest Memory Care, Woodlawn Care Center and Valley Regional Hospital’s Day Out Program with donkeys.
On these adventures, our RTI participant models and introduces proper handling skills to a new and curious audience. We have also visited a number of area childcares and summer camps to introduce young children to our donkeys.
Through all of our activities, whether on the farm or in the community, we strive to provide a meaningful and fun experience for our participants, while providing valuable life skills that can enhance other aspects of daily life.