Partners & Sponsors
We would like to thank the following organizations for their continued support and look forward to long relationships!
Hi! I am Yvette my pronouns are she/her and I have a neurodiverse mind (ADHD). As the mother of an incredible autistic son, the concept for Alora Farm came to me when I thought about his future and what his life would look like after I was gone. 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 began as an idea to alleviate the loneliness that affects autist community members. An alternative to today’s group home, Alora is built on a self-sustaining model that leads to autonomy when it is time to live away from loved ones or caretakers.
Alora wishes to be a place for autists’ voices to be heard and their needs to be met, to gently support their process of unmasking and, subsequently, self-identifying. When they are ready, we provide access to the opportunities they’ll require to continue their growth.
This initiative is my life’s devotion, however, Alora is not about me. Alora Farm is completely about autists and other neurodiverse individuals. We aim to have a future Board of Directors that is more than 51% neurodiverse-led and intersectionality diverse. My vision is that Alora will integrate into local communities, run autonomously, and will provide a safe haven in which every person and sentient being feels safe enough to support one another to live consciously.
I live on a small Texas Hill Country homestead with my husband and son (both named Keith*), two dogs, three barn cats, and goats. I love to spend my days gardening, dancing, taking webinars and educating myself about multiple subjects to build Alora. My interests are vast and include music, art, quantum physics, philosophy, psychology and esoteric studies. I am eager to take my background in finance, client and team relationship building & management into the world of Social Impact Entrepreneurship as the Founder of Alora Farm.
We believe everyone deserves to live with a sense of purpose and fulfillment in an environment that feels like home to their soul. At Alora, we’re building a sanctuary where enrichment comes from fostering our talents and skills and giving back to the world.
Through meaningful activities that both heal the earth and ourselves, and provide for the community in which we live and thrive, we nurture 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 on the farm and create a low-stimulation environment where our Stewards can emerge, flow and thrive.
Regenerative farming is a system of principles and practices that serve to rehabilitate and enhance the ecosystem by restoring soil health using climate-smart methods. Alora 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.
Living in community offers a path to vitality and autonomy. We understand that many autists feel the trauma of being micromanaged their entire life and desire living in an environment that is built with their needs in mind. Alora is a low-stimulation, low-pressure environment. We’re creating a community that is built for you.
Our Stewards’ needs are taken into account in every single way. From job and life skills training, employment opportunities, 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. Here, our community members are invited to live an expansive, fulfilled life. At Alora, every member is accepted and celebrated exactly as they are.
Alora is based entirely around you – where your needs are met and you are fully seen.
All autist teens and adults are welcome at the farm, either for residency or for daytime activities and work. Free from the micro-management, over-stimulation and pressures of life in today’s society, the farm is 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.
It’s difficult to feel heard and seen in a world that doesn’t fully understand the inner world of an autist. We get it. The purpose of Alora Farm 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 Farm, rest assured that your loved one is in a safe place, is wanted and belongs.
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.
At Alora, we understand 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 our every day.
Alora Farm provides 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.
Alora is the future of alternative therapy and the traditional group home model. Our community addresses the common feelings of loneliness, isolation and dissociation felt by many autists.
Alora provides 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 is there every step of the way to provide them with opportunities that will help them grow. We 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 engage with the world around them.
“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.”
A safe and modern farming and wellness center tucked into the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Alora is a place for autists to discover themselves and the world around them. A welcome substitute for the current group home and daytime activity models, we’ve built a holistic and sustainable rural sanctuary with the vision of fostering a sense of purpose for all who call it home. Through farming, harvesting, art and life skills courses, our model includes a robust variety of programs to serve each individual’s passions and needs, and inspires personal development and breakthroughs.
Our programs emphasize responsible farming and the use of green energy and sustainable practices in order to nurture the land our farm community lives and relies upon. At Alora, we honor every individual's desire and right to sovereignty, and always advocate for autonomy over their body and decisions.
Connection to the natural wonders of the world is incredibly healing. Alora Farm is a place for our 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.
We advocate for the lifelong success and autonomy of our Stewards. Through purposeful training, we guide our Stewards through the development of skills – in a low-stimulation, low-pressure, non-productivity focused environment – that are applicable both on and off the farm.
Alora is dedicated to hosting wellness and art activities to support the healing journeys of our Stewards. Ranging from music to goat yoga to ceramics, art and social events, we provide opportunities for our Stewards to connect, expand, create and express themselves.
Alora 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 vitality, 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 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.
We have created a strong foundation for Alora Farm and we need your help to make this dream a reality! We are looking to secure a minimum of 50 acres 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 on the land; our goal is to have 15 tiny homes with 30 individuals living at Alora by 2025. Alora Farm has met all local legal requirements. We are 501(c)(3) approved and your donation can be tax-deductible. Any donation, 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. Your support will help us provide scholarships so that Alora’s services will be available to anyone regardless of their financial status. Every dollar counts! If you’d like to learn more about us, please sign up to receive updates.
We are fortunate to have a dedicated and accomplished advisory board with a wide range of expertise, and we’re continuously seeking individuals who will help shape the future of Alora Farm. To support the vision and mission of our organization, we believe it’s important that neurodiversity is represented on our board.
Every day, we’re contacted by good people and are touched by the interest, hard work and enthusiasm from individuals who are interested in lending their expertise, skills, money and support to help Alora Farms come to life. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about joining our Dream Team.
Alyssa Barrera Lansford is culturally Latina/Tejana, and a racially reconnecting indigenous cis-gendered female who strives to develop culturally responsive research within the special education field. She is currently a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) with a focus on Equity and Diversity. Her research is centered around the topics of culturally responsive research, trauma-based research, and caregiver support. Her professional focus is to work with adolescents, adults, and the elderly population.
An Aquarian mother of two, she enjoys being outside and at the beach, but also likes to stay home and watch anime with her family. "My love of the outdoors and understanding of the systemic issues that adults with disabilities face is why I'm excited to be on Alora's team."
Hello friends, Alyssa here. I have decided to not showcase my BCBA credentials. However, I wanted to be forthcoming and transparent in my credentials and licensure. The rationale for this is that I am aware how the field of ABA has used the ones in their field doing the work as tokens for any type of progression of the field. I do not wish to be included in that. I want the Board to instead change their mindset and ways themselves, and not piggy back off others.
Kathleen is a mother to an autist son and brings a variety of experience from professions across diverse industries: author, businesswoman, professional model, actress, multidisciplinary artist and currently Intuitive Life Coach. Born with a neurodivergent mind (autist/ADD), she has chosen to lend her expertise and voice to Alora’s vision and mission.
Tiffany Hammond is the voice behind Fidgets and Fries. She is an Autistic mother, advocate, and storyteller who uses her personal experiences with Autism and parenting two Autistic boys to guide others on their journey. She has a Masters in Developmental Psychology and spends her time teaching, coaching, and mentoring others in Disability Justice issues. Her activism is rooted in challenging the current perception of Autism as a lifelong burden, cultivating a community that explores the concept of Intersectionality, and inspiring thought leaders through storytelling, education, and critical discourse.
Brandon Vondera is co-founder of Pineapple House Platforms, and leads the Pineapple House Media team. In years prior he managed music acts, and did marketing for a couple of startups. When not promoting artists, he spends his time in nature or in study. He has recently been a part of starting a food forest in his community.
Stephanie Howsley has been co-founder of Pineapple House Platforms for the last six years. A San Antonio native, Stephanie’s children attend school locally, and the family is active in the community. She leads the award-winning Pineapple House Beauty team of professional hair and makeup artists, as well as numerous charitable endeavors.
Donations are vital to the future of this project, as are in-kind donations and volunteerism. We invite business owners, artists, professionals, graphic artists and social media content creators to contact us. Please reach out if you have experience with the following:
Our community is growing and we’re looking to build partnerships within the Austin community and beyond. If you’re a local business and would like to host a fundraising event on behalf of Alora Farm, please contact us!