Madison Fields welcomed approximately 70 members of the Finance and Accounting departments from Marriott to volunteer at Madison Fields to create new landscapes and places of respite.
Madison Fields, a project of Madison House Autism Foundation welcomed Marriott for the fourth year in a row for their staff to work side by side with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, whom are served by two organizations, JSSA and Sports Plus.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to pilot an addition to the Marriot day of service at Madison Fields,” said Tom Liniak, Director of Specialized Employment Services, JSSA, Co-Founder of Sports Plus. “The day brings together a group of high school and college students who will soon be entering the work force with Marriot employees to work together and give back by working together on projects at Madison Fields. These groups worked side by side and learned from each other all while socializing and having fund in helping one another. Sports Plus and JSSA are proud of this first of its kind project that unites us with Madison Fields and Marriott.”
Madison House Autism Foundation was created in 2008 to address the lifespan needs of the 2 million autistic adults in the country. More than 1 million of these individuals live with aging parents, and 85 percent are unemployed or underemployed in the workforce. Montgomery County and its surrounding communities, is home for approximately 5,000 adults with autism and other neuro-diverse adults who face significant challenges ranging from housing to employment.
In 2014, Madison House was given the equity in a 400-acre farm, renamed Madison Fields, located in Dickerson in the Agricultural Reserve of Montgomery County. Programs at Madison Fields include therapeutic horseback riding, agricultural education field trips, as well as a vocational program that focuses on training young adults with autism and other intellectual/developmental disabilities on workforce skills.
“Today is a perfect example of how to make the world a more inclusive and better place. If we all spend time working to help others in our community, and if we can be reminded, that people of all abilities have the capacity to give back, we can go further together, advancing our community to be better together,” said JaLynn Prince, Founder and President of Madison House Autism Foundation.
Marriott International supported Madison Fields for their 4th annual Marriott Spirit to Serve Day. The existing relationship between Madison Fields and Marriott dates back to 2015 when Marriott participated in their first Spirit to Serve Day at Madison Fields. During this year’s volunteer day, Marriott International brings approximately 100 staff members to Madison Fields to help complete significant projects on the farm that positively impact the local community. These activities include: mulching and landscaping, cleaning stalls, painting, creating new places for respite, planting pumpkins and flowers, and clearing trails that students who visit the farm use.
Marriott's participation in this day is crucial to helping Madison Fields reach and serve more people in the community through its programming. At Madison Fields, equine-assisted activities and therapies, job training, community engagement, education are foundational of the mission in providing more opportunities to individuals with autism and related disabilities, veterans and their families, and the community at-large.
Photos courtesy Madison Fields.