For the EVOLution of Business

Growing Abilities and Cultivating Neurodiversity with Jennyrae Brongo of Homesteads For Hope

Episode Summary

What happens when autism grows up? Having just assumed leadership of her family business after the sudden death of her father, Jennyrae Brongo found that options were limited for her younger brother Chucky. Yet when she took Chucky to a farm and watched him engage with nature's classroom, a dream was born. She discovered a nationwide movement of intentional agricultural communities for people with autism and was determined to build one in Rochester. Not only has Homesteads for Hope become a place to belong and grow abilities, but by creating micro-enterprises to generate revenue, it is also becoming a place for people of all abilities to work. Tune in to this episode to hear the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce and how Jennyrae is Harvesting Hope for people of all abiltiies! Jennyrae considers herself a dream builder: as a young entrepreneur, sister to autism, woman in construction and founder of Homesteads for Hope Community Farm, she believes all her life’s work is for one common mission – to build sustainable community. Jennyrae is a Rochester, New York native and the owner of Brongo Contracting & Supply. She is also the founder of Homesteads for Hope, a nonprofit organization founded in May of 2013. Homesteads for Hope is dedicated to the support of young adults with autism and their families, offering a welcoming community environment. In 2016, Homesteads for Hope purchased a fifty-five-acre historic farm in Ogden, New York, which has since transformed into the community’s permanent home.

Episode Notes

[1:25] Younger brother Chucky and "What happens when autism grows up?"
[3:45] Taking over the family gravel business from her father
[6:15] Finding ways to engage Chucky and discovering the magic of nature's classroom
[12:45] Discovering "intentional agricultural communities" for people with autism
[16:45] The 3 phases of growth for Homesteads For Hope
Phase 1 - A Place to Learn - educational experiences and classrooms
Phase 2 - A Place to Work - creating enterprises - bakery, wreaths, composting, beekeeping, wedding venue, farm store, vineyard, canalside rental
Phase 3 - A Place to Live & Grow
[30:00] Support the farm through individual, family and corporate memberships
[34:30] "Ready, Set, Work" program for work skills, social skills and life skills
[38:00] Advice for other social entrepreneurs
[41:30] Bringing "neurodiversity" to your organization
Check out this article from the World Economic Forum on neurodiversity in the workforce: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/08/neurodiversity-workplace-opportunity/ 
[46:00] Taking inclusion to the next level through collaboration with other organizations
[48:00] Ways to get involved with Homesteads For Hope

Learn more about Homesteads For Hope here:
http://www.homesteadsforhope.org/

Watch Jennyrae's TEDx Talk, "A Place Where We All Belong" here: