Love Grows Here

The Alora Project

Rooted in nature’s ability to nourish and regenerate, Alora is a Camphill Village inspired project to build a farmstead wellness haven for autist teens and adults to live as part of a thriving community. Through purposeful participation, the farm would foster a safe environment for self-discovery, learning and personal development.

Every individual will play an integral role in maintaining the welfare of the farm, from tending and harvesting crops to the care and raising of livestock, as they nourish themselves and the planet.

Still in the beginning stages, this project is an innovative and soulful alternative to the current day activity center and group home, Alora will be a model for sustainable and dignified living for autists and other neurodivergent individuals such as those with Downs Syndrome, ADHD, and more, enriching their lives with love, acceptance and the healing powers of Mother Earth.

Photo of a BIPOC woman with curly brown hair, brown skin, wearing a black, white, and red striped blouse. Silver earrings and necklace. She is outdoors in a field at golden hour.

Yvette Bonilla Leach, Founder

Yvette has a neurovariant mind (AuDHD). As the mother of a beautiful autist son, the concept for Alora came to her when making plans about his future and what his life would look like after she and her husband transitions from this realm. Like other parents and caregivers of autists, we want to ensure our loved ones are safe, cared for and loved – and that they have an opportunity to fulfill their own sense of purpose.

Alora was conceived to address the loneliness experienced by members of the autistic community. Offering an alternative to traditional group homes, the project is inspired by the Camphill Village model—a communal, residential farm where purposeful work fosters growth and fulfillment among residents.

Alora aims to be a safe, secular sanctuary for autist individuals providing a space where their voices are heard and their needs are met. We gently support their journey of self-discovery and self-identification.

While this initiative is Yvette's life devotion, she insists that Alora isn't about her—it's entirely dedicated to autists and other neurovariant individuals. The Alora Board of Directors is primarily comprised of neurovariant professionals who volunteer their time; no one receives a salary. Her vision for Alora is to be a safe haven where every person and sentient being feels empowered to support one another in living consciously.

She resides on a small Texas Hill Country homestead with her husband and son (both named Keith), along with their dogs, cats, goats, and chickens. Her days are filled with gardening, dancing, and self-education to build Alora. Her diverse interests span music, art, quantum physics, philosophy, psychology, and esoteric studies. Eager to leverage her background in finance and relationship management, she ventures into the world of Social Impact Entrepreneurship.

*Keith (my son) has given his consent for me to give you his ASD and ADHD diagnoses.
-Yvette Bonilla Leach

Nurturing Our Natural Ways of Being

We believe everyone deserves to live with a sense of purpose and fulfillment in an environment that feels like home to their soul. Still in the early stages, we’re building a sanctuary where enrichment comes from fostering our talents and giving back to the planet.

Through meaningful activities that heal the earth, ourselves, and provide for the community in which we live, this project nurtures a deep sense of peace and purpose. Surrounded by the serenity of the Texas wilderness, the natural rhythms and therapeutic powers of nature are integrated into daily life and create a low-pressure environment.

Regenerative philosophy

Regenerative gardening and farming is a system of principles and practices that serve to rehabilitate and enhance the ecosystem by restoring soil health using climate-smart methods. The farm will use this method to support the vision of improving the land and its valuable resources. We are dedicated to instilling a sense of purpose for our Stewards. Helping fight the climate crisis is a wonderful way to do work that is fulfilling and changes the planet for the better.

CREATING COMMUNITY

Living in community offers a path to vitality and autonomy. We understand that many autists and other neurodivergent people feel the trauma of being micromanaged and desire living in an environment that is built with their needs in mind. Alora would be a low-stimulation, low-pressure environment. We’re creating a community that is built for you.

The Alora project ensures that our stewards’ needs are taken into account in every single way. From job and life skills training, wellness, and creative expression, we’re building a community for individuals who live on our land, as well as a welcoming community for individuals from other residential environments. Our community members are invited to live an expansive, fulfilled life. Every member is accepted and celebrated exactly as they are.

The Healing Powers of Love and Nature

After relocating to the countryside to heal from breast cancer, Yvette and her family began with a flower garden, attracting butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. They then ventured into growing food and eventually added chickens to their homestead. As they tended to the land, they noticed its positive effects on their well-being, particularly for her son. Over time, friends were invited to join them, especially in the garden and chicken coop, where the calming influence of nature was palpable. The immediate benefits—relaxed body language, easier conversation, and genuine smiles—inspired the Alora project. A communal residential farm where these healing experiences could be shared and cherished.
Flower graphic that says 'Your Home in the Country'

Alora is based entirely around you – where your needs are met and you are fully seen.

This project welcomes autist and neurodivergent teens and adults. Free from the micro-management, over-stimulation and pressures of life in today’s society, the farm will be a place that fosters the discovery of every Steward and the gifts they have to share with the world. A sanctuary where full human potential is nurtured through meaningful work, personalized living, a healthy habitat and genuine relationships, this community is for us.

Are You Looking to Feel Understood?

It’s difficult to feel heard and seen in a world that doesn’t fully understand the inner world of an autist or any person with an intellectual or developmental disability. We get it. We presume competence. The purpose of the Alora is to help neurodivergent individuals intuitively develop and consciously connect to personal development – in a way that makes sense and is comfortable. Here, each member can socialize as much (or as little) as they prefer, in an environment that is built to meet their specific needs. At Alora, rest assured that your loved one is in a safe place, is wanted and belongs.

Do You Care About A Neurodivergent Person?

As a family member of a loved one with an autistic mind, you might feel anxiety when you consider the future of your loved one after you are gone. You know how important it is for them to be surrounded by like-minded spirits and friends, and to live in a community that not only understands them, but cares about them too.

Alora understands the challenges that autists feel in ‘masking’ themselves. Masking, the tendency to suppress a natural response in favor of alternatives that are perceived as more socially acceptable, encompasses a range of behaviors. These might include making eye contact despite feeling uncomfortable doing so, limiting body movements even if they are self-regulating, or avoiding certain discussions for fear of judgment. Often, these traits are seen as symptoms to be “cured” rather than understood or accepted.

For many autists, these masking behaviors oftentimes reinforce a disjointed identity, making it difficult to express their authentic selves. We are sensitive to the needs of every individual, and we are committed to creating and maintaining an environment that is supportive. Here, acceptance, understanding and meeting one’s own needs and regulation is consistently woven into every day.

Alora will provide a safe environment for them to be exactly who they are, while cultivating real life skills that will help them feel a sense of connection and purpose.

Why Alora?

Alora is the future of alternative therapy and the traditional group home model. The community we are creating will address the common feelings of loneliness, isolation and dissociation felt by many autists and other neurodivergent people.

Alora would provide family members with reassurance that their loved one will live and participate in an environment that is safe, comfortable and instills a sense of connection and purpose.

Alora Farm was created to gently support autists’ process of unmasking and, subsequently, self-identifying, in a way that feels comfortable, safe and filled with ease. At a pace that works for them, the Alora community will be there every step of the way to provide them with opportunities that will help them grow. We want to provide a path to vitality where each individual is an active participant in their own life and rewarded with a space in which they can authentically express themselves.

Here, inclusion is everything. We encourage fostering healthy relationships and ensuring every individual feels a sense of belonging and freedom of expression. By alleviating loneliness and providing the opportunity to give back to the world in a meaningful way, we aim to change the way autists and other neurovariant people engage with the world around them.

While our search for a permanent location in Texas continues, we invite you to experience the tranquility of Alora with us on a smaller scale thanks to the generous support of the local Lakehills Methodist Church, we are utilizing a 1/4 acre community garden with 25 raised beds and garden space to bring Alora's mission to life. Amidst the gentle rustle of leaves and vibrant blossoms, you'll discover a comforting haven, offering solace and a deeper connection to the natural world for both you and your loved ones.

Testimonial

“Autistic masking has negative effects on mental health. It is exhausting and can cause meltdowns, anxiety, and depression. Autistic people who mask can feel that they are lying to others, which affects their self-esteem. They can also feel that their friendships and relationships are fake because they cover up who they truly are in order to be accepted by other people. This results in feeling isolated and lonely. When an autistic person stops masking, it is a challenging and scary process because many don’t even know who they are and how they will feel and behave without masking. There is a lot of research showing the benefits of nature on mental health and healing. Being in a supportive environment, in an understanding community, with opportunities to be outside and enjoy nature seems to be a perfect setting for dealing with the effects of masking, and for healing work.”
-
Yulika Forman, PhD, LMHC

Sustainable Living that Heals & Grows

The Alora farm project provides a space for neurovariant individuals to explore themselves and their surroundings. Serving as an alternative to traditional group home and daytime activity setups, we're constructing a holistic and sustainable rural sanctuary with the goal of nurturing a sense of purpose among all residents. Our model, offering farming, harvesting, art, gardening and more, will feature a diverse range of programs tailored to each individual's interests and needs, inspiring personal growth and breakthroughs.

project ProGrams

Once manifested, programs will emphasize responsible farming and the use of green energy and other regenerative and sustainable practices in order to nurture the land the farm community lives and relies upon. We assume competence, honor every individual's desire and right to sovereignty, and always advocate for autonomy over their body and decisions.

Petting a goat

Land & Animal Stewardship

Connection to the natural wonders of the world is incredibly healing. This project creates a place for stewards to work together with their neurotypical peers to heal our earth and develop their own sense of skill and purpose. Strolling through pollinator-friendly gardens, learning about herbalism and harvesting nutrient-dense foods with our local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program are just a few ways to cultivate a deeper connection to the land. Raising and nurturing the farm’s livestock provides stewards with the healing powers and therapeutic touch of animals.

Gardening

Learning Programs

We will guide our stewards through the development of skills – in a low-pressure, non-productivity focused environment – that are applicable both on and off the farm.

Working with clay

Healing & Holistic Wellness

This project will host wellness and art activities to support the healing journeys of our stewards. From music to goat yoga to ceramics, art and social events, we provide opportunities for our stewards to connect, expand, create and express themselves.

Communial Residential LIVING (PHASE 2)

The Alora Farm Project is a holistic, sustainable approach to living. In a safe, comfortable environment, surrounded by the peacefulness of nature and a community that sees and understands autists, the opportunity to blossom becomes reality. Our residences will be planned as micro-communities that share a permaculture garden and operate efficiently using green energy. Here, life is filled with color, music, art and nature. Our residents will live in tiny homes to call their own, fostering a sense of independence, support and community. Events, programs, work, classes and activities are curated daily to develop a strong sense of togetherness for all stewards. Partnership and teamwork are essential values that the success and longevity of our farm and community will rely upon. It’s from this place of stability that our community can thrive by caring for the animals, the land and their fellow stewards. Alora approaches healing and living cyclically, tapping into the natural rhythms of humans and community, bringing awareness to our role in the world around us.

How You Can Help

We have created a strong foundation for the Alora farm and we need your help to make this dream a reality! We are looking to secure land with some acreage so that we will have ample space to build and continue to expand our facilities to accommodate our growing community. We envision the next 5 years as a period of growth. We are a 501(c)(3) public charity and your donations are tax-deductible. Any contribution, both large and small, will help us bring this vision to life. Please support our mission and become a part of this supportive community in helping autists live meaningful and fulfilling lives.

Bring Alora to Life

conscious leadership

We have carefully chosen a group of neurovariant business partners who share our vision of serving others to live their healthiest, best lives. With a unified vision and heartfelt guidance, our board is dedicated to helping our community members realize their full potential.

Alora Board Members

Scott Maderer, MBA

Scott Maderer, MBA

Treasurer/Director

Scott Maderer has a Neurovariant mind. He is the Founder of Inspired Stewardship, a business dedicated to helping Christian men and couples fulfill their calling. Scott and his wife, Carrie, are passionate about assisting others in aligning how they use their time, talent, and treasures to live an entirely authentic and meaningful life.

Aida Minnick, RN

Aida Minnick, RN

Secretary/Director

Aida, a seasoned registered nurse with a remarkable 22-year career, dedicated eighteen years to hospital settings before transitioning into her current role as a Wesley Nurse for Bandera County. Her nursing philosophy revolves around a holistic approach, ensuring the comprehensive well-being of her patients by addressing their physical, mental, and spiritual needs. Aida is a staunch advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, principles that underscore her patient care practices.

With a deep understanding of the neurodivergent mind, Aida brings a unique perspective to her role as a nurse and a board member of Alora Farm. As an autist herself, she has navigated the challenges of raising multiple children with varying degrees of support needs on the autism spectrum. This personal experience enriches her compassionate and empathetic approach to patient care.

Aida's personal life is just as diverse as her professional journey. The proud grandmother of seven and a mother to five children ranging from 17 to 37, she shares her home with two dogs and a horse. Aida's wealth of experience, both professionally and personally, reflects her unwavering commitment to providing compassionate and inclusive care to those she serves.

Advisory Board

Kathleen Day-Gomez

Kathleen Day-Gomez

IG @kathleen.day.official

Kathleen is Editor-in-Chief of Pepper Magazine and mother to an autist son. She brings various experiences from professions across diverse industries: author, businesswoman, professional model, actress, multidisciplinary artist, and Intuitive Life Coach. Born with a neurodivergent mind (Autist/A.D.H.D.), she has chosen to lend her expertise and voice to Alora’s vision and mission.

Program coordinator

Sky Lenaghan, BA

Sky Lenaghan, BA

Sky is a neurodivergent garden educator with a robust background in trauma-informed practices, art, music, movement, and theater. They have dedicated their career to nurturing and educating children from pre-K to 12th grade, both as a teacher and a compassionate care provider.

Sky's diverse skill set extends beyond the classroom, encompassing a wide range of interests. A passionate gardener, they cultivate not only plants but also a love for nature in their students. Their musical talents shine through singing and playing the guitar, while their artistic flair is evident in their painting and various forms of writing.

Sky is the creative mind behind our current Spring and Fall curriculums, where they seamlessly blend their educational expertise with her artistic sensibilities. Their commitment to trauma-informed practices ensures a supportive and enriching environment for learners of all ages and neurodivergent backgrounds. Whether working with young children, teenagers, or adults, Sky strives to create inclusive and engaging learning experiences for everyone.

ReRoute Art Magazine for neurodivergent artists, writers, and more. Learn about neurodiverdity through art.

An Art Magazine by Alora

ReRoute Art Magazine is a Celebrating Neurodiversity Award nominated online publication for neurodivergent artists, writers, and more. Learn about the neurodivergent experience through art and creativity.

Get Started

Volunteer

Donations are vital to the future of this project, as are in-kind donations and volunteerism. We invite those with a green thumb business owners, artists, professionals, graphic artists and social media content creators to contact us. Please reach out if you have experience with the following:

  • autism advocacy
  • regenerative agriculture and planning
  • animals and livestock
  • community planning
  • engineering
  • grant writing and fundraising
  • wellness (i.e.., art therapy, sound therapy, yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, drumming)

Sponsorships & Partnerships

Our community is growing and we’re looking to build partnerships. If you’re a local business and would like to sponsor a fundraising event for The Alora Farm Proect, please contact us!

Email Us to Get Involved

Partners & Sponsors

We would like to thank the following organizations for their continued support and look forward to long relationships!