Hope Afield founded on a passion to help kids

Ken Kilpatrick was the guest speaker at the Lion’s Club weekly meeting on Monday, March 14. Kilpatrick and his wife Jan own and run Hope Afield at Blessings Farm.

The farm is located in Butler County and is 162 acres. The farm allows the Kilpatrick’s to pursue their passion to work with at-risk-youth and their families.

“The classroom is the great outdoors,” Kilpatrick explained, “for bringing hope, healing, and helping people find purpose in their life.”

Most of the activities are outside at Hope Afield and Kilpatrick said he is really big on getting kids off their phones and involved in learning.

“Basically it’s a mentoring program,” he said. “It’s taking kids that come to us. We get children from the education system, judicial system, law enforcement, churches refer kids to us and occasionally we will just have a grandparent pull up in the driveway and say they’re having trouble with their grandchild, can you help.”

Kilpatrick said he gives each child a work project. These projects are designed for the individual child and can be as simple as picking up sticks or as complicated as learning to fix and drive the tractor.

Hope Afield has a farm to table process and are currently working on getting the raised beds ready to plant.

“It’s about just learning some basics,” Kilpatrick said. “Most of these kids come from a background where they don’t even know how to check air in a tire. We have old equipment and it gives them the opportunity to learn to check air in the tire, and how to check the oil and water level.”

According to Kilpatrick, the ultimate goal is to make the kids employable and able to contribute to society.

“We try to bring them along and help them get a job,” he said. “A lot of the kids we have now are young, in elementary school and are coming up through the system.”

Kids help feed the animals and help with yard work.

“We have all kinds of games and events that kids can get involved in,” Kilpatrick said. “We have a pond they can fish in. We have horseback riding. We are trying to get these kids involved in things that we grew up with, these kids have never experienced it. “The kids that visit Hope Afield become family and the Kilpatrick’s help in any way they can, even helping them obtain their driver’s license when they reach 16 years of age.

Kilpatrick said he is teaching these young people how to work, how to play and how to live

“The key to helping them overcome their problem is establishing trust with them,” he told the group. “And without the trust, you are not going to get very far with them. These kids are hard.”

The kids get away from the farm occasionally and take trips to different events including the rodeo, Biscuits baseball games, and bowling.

Hope Afield became a non-profit organization in 2016 and the Kilpatrick’s rely heavily on donations to provide outreach services.

One of their fundraisers is a Boston butt sale that is done once a quarter. A team of young men come after school and spend the weekend helping get the food ready and then selling the meat.

Kilpatrick said they are in the process of building a resource center.

“Poverty is a major problem in the county,” he said. “The center is going to consist of a commercial kitchen. We have partnered with the extension office in the area and they are going to send people out to help get people certified to serve food.”

Kilpatrick said the ground work is done and expects work to begin before the end of the month.

Their commercial kitchen will be available for people to reserve and use based on the available schedule. His hope is that caterers or other small businesses that cannot afford a commercial kitchen will be able to utilize the one at the Resource Center.

The next Boston butt sale will be in April but a date has not been determined yet.

If you would like to know more about Hope Afield, visit their website at www.hopeafield.com.