On June 2, 2003 GHA Autism Supports began construction on Carolina Farms, a new and innovative program in Albemarle, North Carolina designed to enable additional individuals from the autistic population to realize a dream of living and working in a farming environment in beautiful Stanly County.
Carolina Farms was initially developed in three phases, with the final phase being completed in November 2005. Each phase involved the construction of a five-bed group home along with additional facilities that encompass the vocational aspects of life on the farm. Additional facilities for the Farm include a multi-purpose building, barn, two greenhouses, therapeutic riding ring, recreational track and swimming pool. Carolina Farms also has a Community Supported Agriculture program and a creative arts program that employ individuals with autism that GHA supports.
In 2009, GHA Autism Supports was fortunate to have a 20’x 40’ 3-foot deep swimming pool constructed and donated by Hudson Pools, as well as a security fence installed by Forrest Fence Company at the Carolina Farms facility. With a general operating schedule of early June through early September, individuals and support staff from every home in the Stanly County have enjoyed countless hours of fun in the sun swimming and splashing on hot summer days. To ensure safety along with the fun, all staff members accompanying individuals to the pool must hold an American Red Cross Basic Water Rescue Certification. GHA’s swimming pool has been used for parties, picnics and other special events over the years, and is a valuable asset to the agency and all of the people served.
Carolina Farms Home #3 is the site of a twice weekly “Cooking Zone”. Residents from all three houses at the Farm get together on Tuesdays and Thursdays to make or bake and enjoy all sorts of goodies and treats. Farm fresh eggs, herbs, fruits and other in season produce are used to make an assortment of tasty recipes. Birthdays at the Farm are celebrated with cupcakes, made by Cooking Zone participants, and seasonal holiday delights are also part of this program’s distinctive menu offerings. Everyone works together to complete various steps in the baking or making processes, and GHA support staff work closely with the participants, to ensure proper hygiene, as well as safe appropriate kitchen and cooking practices are learned and followed.
Grants and donations were secured from numerous sources in all planning phases of Carolina Farms including the following:
- Albemarle Rotary Club
- Cannon Foundation
- The Duke Endowment
- Fiddle Foundation
- The Graves Family
- Home Depot Foundation
- Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation
- Mrs. Diane K. Howard
- Hudson Fence Supply
- Hudson Pools
- Jeff Shaver & Sons LLC
- Kate B. Reynolds Foundation
- Speedway Children’s Charities
- Stanly County Community Foundation
COVID-19 (coronavirus) Information
GHA Autism Supports continues to keep the health and safety of all individuals supported and employees at the core of all decision making. We have implemented the following safety measures:
- All group meetings have transitioned to utilizing conferencing systems.
- Strict visitation guidelines are in effect at all programs.
- We encourage temporarily replacing in-person visitation with telephonic communication to limit exposure at all sites.
- Second Street Sundries is currently offering curbside pick-up and ordering through the online system.
- We will continue to monitor all updates, and update this information accordingly. Thank you for your patience as we navigate these uncertain times.
213 N. Second Street, Albemarle, NC 28001
PO Box 2487, Albemarle, NC 28002
PO Box 4122, Wilmington, NC 28406
Phone: (704) 982-9600
Fax: (704) 982-8155
Phone: (910) 769-1046
Fax: (910) 399-1780
GHA Autism Supports is licensed by the Division of Health Service Regulation of the North Carolina Department of Human Resources. In addition, GHA Autism Supports is nationally accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). ICF/MR homes are certified by the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance. GHA Autism Supports is affiliated with the Division TEACCH program at UNC-CH, the Autism Society of North Carolina and is a member of the North Carolina Association of Community-Based ICF/MR and CAP providers and the North Carolina Providers Council.