Since 1988, Dismas House has been welcoming former prisoners back to greater Worcester. Within the Dismas House, the Dismas Family Farm, and the Father John Brooks House, former prisoners are engaged in the hard work of rebuilding lives, and rekindling hope for themselves and their families. Families, volunteer Board members, live-in fellows and international students, and church volunteers help create the family atmosphere by breaking bread with residents and spending time with them.
In October 2009, with the support of foundation partners, including the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, Inc., the Stoddard Charitable Trust, the Highland Street Foundation, Charlesbank Homes, Hoche-Scofield Foundation, First Congregational Church of Auburn, Fletcher Foundation, and MassHousing CCRI, Dismas House opened the Dismas Family Farm, a holistic, rehabilitative and vocational reentry model, on a working farm in Oakham, which will serve former prisoners and their families.
The Dismas Family Farm complements the other Dismas programs. Designed to be self-supporting, this working farm produces crops, animals, and finished wood products, as well as candles and popcorn produced for winter revenues. Residents maintain the farmhouse in Dismas tradition, and are additionally trained in crop production, animal husbandry, barn management, woodshop skills, production of finished farm goods, and marketing strategies and approaches. Additionally, residents are expected to either work for the farm or to be employed full-time.
Post-graduation fellowship and summer internship opportunities are available to Amherst students interested in nonprofit/social work and fulfilling gap year opportunities. Stop by this information table to speak with Co-Executive Director Dave McMahon and learn more.