The Farm: When a Dream Becomes Reality

THE FARM: When a Dream Becomes Reality By Drue Ray, Vice President of SimplyHome

I was about 13 when I noticed the abandoned country school my family and I passed en route to away high school football games near Pine Level, Alabama. Set back from the highway, it had tall windows, limestone walls, and was surrounded by acres of yellow long-leaf pines. The scene drew me in and sparked dreams. The more I saw the tired ole school, the more convinced I became that it would be the perfect place for a farm! The schoolhouse would become the bunkhouse and mess hall; the surrounding property was big enough for a garden and chicken coop. Surely there was a pond somewhere nearby. In my mind, people with special needs would live on the farm. It would be a place where wheelchairs, ramps and adaptive equipment would be as natural as a tractor or vegetable patch.

As the years passed, the dream stayed with me. I found myself talking about the farm whenever the “what would you do if you won the lottery” question came up in conversation. And after years of wishing for it, it all became a reality. My Innovative Services gave it wings when their response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) was approved by the grantor and planning began on this project. The proposal outlines the creation of an agricultural-based program for people with mental, intellectual, developmental and/or physical disabilities. The program’s main goal will be to foster maximum independence for each individual. SimplyHome’s assistive living technology is a major factor in achieving this goal.

The staff of My Innovative Services took pleasure in surprising me with news of the award. I’m sure there was a betting pool on how long it would take for me to dissolve into tears (if you had 87 seconds, you win!). It is a rare and overwhelming experience when a group of dedicated professionals takes a leap of faith because they believe in the power of dreams. True, none of us know much about farming, composting, vermiculture (worm farming), chickens, goats, fences, feed or farm equipment. But we do understand the sense of self-worth that arises in every person able to live independently while contributing value to their community.

Drue Ray is the Vice President of SimplyHome, LLC, an assisted living technology company in Asheville, NC, which grew out of Community Management Initiative’s association with Innovative Services, Inc. SimplyHome provides non-invasive monitoring technology that allows elderly and disabled people to maintain independence and dignity while simultaneously providing peace of mind for their concerned loved ones. The “age in place” technology is a responsible alternative to assisted living; it helps reduce the financial burden on families by minimizing the need for in-home care providers.

To learn more about SimplyHome and to request a free assessment, visit or call 828-684-8441 to speak personally about how our products can help improve the lives of your loved ones.