Leg Up Farm project continues with capital campaign

Patti Nitterhouse meets one of Leg Up Farm's therapeutic horses during a recent tour of the York facility. PROVIDED PHOTO

FAYETTEVILLE—Families of children with special needs are closer to having a one-stop place to go to receive support through customized programs.

Leg Up Farm, a nonprofit pediatric therapy center based in Mt. Wolf, York County, is bringing a Franklin County facility to Guilford Township.

Giving kids a leg up

Like the York County facility, the Franklin County center will offer individually tailored treatment plans for children from birth to age 21 who face a variety of developmental delays and disabilities, including autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, metabolic disorders, traumatic brain injuries and delays in speech and motor skills.

Leg Up Farm Franklin County will be built on a 16-acre tract of land donated by White Rock Inc., just off Mont Alto Road and Cascade Drive near the former Filburn Farm adjacent to the golf course community.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held in 2020. The project will move forward in phases and site work ($2.7 million) has already been completed.

Phase 1 ($3.5 million) will include a therapy center and administrative offices; Phase 2 ($650,000) will be the indoor riding arena and horse barn; Phase 3 (cost TBD) is planned for a future education and wellness center and will be based upon need and future funding.

In addition to the land donation, local efforts have resulted in funds raised to complete the majority of the preliminary site work. But that’s basically just moving dirt.

A capital campaign team led by Patti Nitterhouse, owner of Penn National and Mike Ross, president of Franklin County Area Development Corp., has made progress in partnering with local corporations that want to be involved in reaching the campaign goal. 

“I am excited to share that the efforts of Franklin County’s leaders have culminated in raising $2.75 million through in-kind, grant, corporate and private donations. This brings us over 47% towards our total goal of $5,825,588, which would cover the remainder of site work and therapy center construction,” said Tom O’Connor, president of Leg Up Farm.

Of course, the group still has a ways to go to reach their goal.

For information on how to support this project, or contact Leg Up Farm’s Chief Development Officer, Jen Hitz at [email protected] or 717-266-9294.

Tour the York-area facility

For more than a decade, Leg Up Farm near York has been the only facility in the country to provide physical, occupational, speech and aquatic therapy, behavioral health services, nutrition counseling, therapeutic horsemanship, equine-assisted therapies, and educational and recreational programming—all under one roof.

The unique facility got its start in 1997 when local couple Louis and Laurie Castriota decided to blend their love of children and animals with their desire to give back to the community.

Six months later, their daughter, Brooke, was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease which causes both cognitive and motor function delays, and the Castriotas experienced first-hand that a comprehensive facility for coordinated treatment for children with special needs was necessary.

It took 13 years to build the facility, which opened its doors in 2010 and serves more than 500 children each year.

The Franklin County facility is expected to not only provide programs and services but offer volunteer opportunities to local residents and bring jobs to the community.

Interested Franklin Countians who would like to get a sneak peek into the magic of Leg Up Farm can join a facility tour.

Each month, Leg Up Franklin County board members will host bus trips to the Mt. Wolf campus on the first Thursday of the month.

Trips are limited to 10 people and pre-registration is required. The tours leave Penn National Clubhouse in the morning and the trips take about four hours.

The next trip is Thursday, Feb. 2.

To register or for more information, contact Patti Peck at [email protected].

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