Cindy Silvert, sister-in-law of Mike, a villager living in Kimberton Hills
Mike, my brother-in-law, is one of the happiest people I know, and not without reason. Mike has had the good fortune to live in Camphill Village Kimberton Hills since 1990. When describing Kimberton Hills to friends, we use words like idyllic, peaceful and beautiful. We love when Mike spends time at our house, and he does too, but come Sunday morning his bags are packed and Mike is ready to go. He is eager to return to Camphill, where he has a fulfilling life, friends and admirers.
Mike has lived in a number of different homes at Camphill with many special families and dozens of volunteers. The volunteers come from just about everywhere, but they all share a thoughtful, patient and loving demeanor. Mike is always surrounded by people who care about who he is and how he feels. Everyone knows Mike’s favorite music: the Beatles, and his favorite foods: bagels and pancakes for breakfast, pizza when bowling, hotdogs anytime.
His life has purpose and structure, and is enriched with art and culture. He has worked in the dairy, wood shop, cafe and herb garden. He takes pride in the fruits of his labor, and is a responsible worker: he shows up on time and diligently performs whatever tasks need to get done. A few years ago Mike began playing the cello. When he performs his repertoire on Family Day, he beams with pride, and is pure joy to watch. He has also played the handbells in the Camphill orchestra which has performed at a fairly well known concert space in NYC: Carnegie Hall. Surrounded by the picturesque Kimberton countryside, Mike is an active, aware member of a community that is respectful of humans, animals and the earth. We are so grateful that Mike has such a rich life with the kindest people I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet.
Madeleine Banulski, former Short-Term Volunteer
When I moved to Kimberton Hills in September of 2006 I had just graduated from Hofstra University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. I was not sure what to do next but I had done some work with adults with disabilities during my summers off from college and I was also interested in organic farming. At Kimberton Hills, I lived in a household of 10 with five adults with disabilities. I got to experience the fun and frustrations of living together with people with special needs day to day and taking responsibility for their care and health. I also got to work outside in the apple orchard and in the vegetable garden. The adults with special needs who lived at Kimberton had to take far less pharmaceutical drugs than others I had worked with because they had a reliable schedule, meaningful work and social activities and healthy food.
After living at Kimberton Hills for two years I went on to apprentice at an organic vegetable farm for a year and then returned to school to get my second bachelor’s degree in nursing and RN. My husband is an organic vegetable farmer who I met at Kimberton Hills and on my off days I work with him on the farm. Kimberton helped both of us to find meaningful vocational direction in our lives through hands on experience with the land and working with adults with disabilities.