Less than 30 years ago, Kelly and Jerry Horton started the Down Home Ranch in Elgin for their daughter to have somewhere to live, work and play.
Their daughter was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
“After she was born, we were academics, so we did all the research we could on Down syndrome, and wanted to know what happens to our daughter when she grows up,” Jerry said. “When we started looking out in the world, we were disappointed in what we saw so we said, ‘We can do better than that.’”
Now, 32 ranchers with intellectually disabilities live on the farm, using the 330-acre plot of land. The rancher are able to take pride and master skills individually in what Horton calls a “community of opportunity.”
The ranch is always in need of volunteers. Donations are welcome, but a few ongoing needs include gardeners, engineers and automotive mechanics. You can find out how to get in touch at DownHomeRanch.org.