The Landscaping Crew in Massachusetts enjoyed a satisfying close to the summer season of lawn care. Thanks to their hard work four days a week, the yards at all the houses are looking great. The crew consists of Richard Low, Kenny Colwell, Anthony Drew, and Chris DeSantis. Anthony and Kenny man the mowers, while Richard and Chris do clean up. But they’re in it together, as Chris says, they all “mow lawns.”

The foursome is a closeknit team. When one gets discouraged, the others motivate him to keep going. When one has difficulty communicating, the others step up to figure it out. They’re careful about safety too. Anthony reports, “I’m safe with the lawn mower. They taught me in a training at the house. I keep my hands on the bar, away from the mower.”

They’ve packed up their mowers, but they haven’t missed a beat transitioning to fall clean ups. In the winter they plan to do snow blowing. They are also looking to go back to volunteer work watering trees for the town while they have some down time. Anthony sees the benefit of working, whether paid or volunteer, “It’s great exercise.”

The Landscaping Crew is supported by Aspire’s No Walls day services. Leaving behind the day program site has meant that the guys are free to do what suits them best. Earning a paycheck is important to all of them because the money enables them to do the things they love, whether it’s getting coffee every morning, going out to eat on their “Fun Fridays”, or saving up for special trips. “I went on vacation, a boat ride. And the zoo. I saw lions, tigers, and bears,” says Kenny. Richard looks forward to getting his hamburgers and French fries. When they are low on funds, they still love the park and playing disc golf.

“They’re living their own life,” reports DSP Lead, Yared Neseran. “They’re happier now and proud of themselves. Their families are proud of them too. They’re contributing.”

The old day program site is closing down, and all the equipment they stored there is moving to their house. So they’ll be learning some new routines around their equipment for next year. One thing they’re a little worried about is missing the all the parties they used to have at the day program to celebrate holidays. It’s a chance to start some new traditions and connect with their friends in the community and at home.

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Teamwork: The Landscaping Crew