David Hayes and Mountain Valley Developmental Services


David Hayes at MVDS Greenhouse
photo by Annie Uyehara

David Hayes and 
Mountain Valley Developmental Services

By Annie Uyehara

David Hayes parks his brand new bike on the side of the greenhouse. He loves to ride everywhere he can. But working in the greenhouse where his bike is parked garners just as much enjoyment. Hayes is an integral team member at the Mountain Valley Developmental Services greenhouse where he is working hard to prepare for the annual Spring sale.

"I know everybody, so I get the flyers out for the sale," says Hayes, who has cerebral palsy and unspecified intellectual disadvantages. Hayes has been with the Mountain Valley Developmental Services (MVDS) greenhouse for over ten years.

Matt Urmson, Greenhouse Operations Manager, facilitates and works alongside people with an array of physical and mental challenges. "We don't diagnose or focus on disabilities. In the greenhouse we focus on job skills and vocational goals. For instance, David started out mowing lawns, watering, seeding, and now he is learning marketing sales techniques."

Community inclusion coupled with an end goal for participants to graduate and get a job in the community is what MVDS is all about. Its mission statement is "to encourage and support individuals with developmental disabilities, enhance their ability to live, learn, and work in an independent and inclusive manner, and to educate the community about their contributions and capabilities."

The greenhouse participants range from 12-10 people a day (12 during COVID restrictions), with tasks rotating every six months to learn new skills. Hayes's favorite jobs are sales, sweeping, "and getting the word out, to let everybody know."

Although Hayes once worked in the community, his mother, who was once on the board of directors, suggested he might enjoy the greenhouse. "We keep him busy, he makes money, and we don't want anyone to sit at home and waste away," says Urmson"

The greenhouse began in 1984 with herbed products. Now it rivals any commercial greenhouse with its lush flowers, greenery and vegetables nearly overtaking the boundaries of the building.

Urmson admits that operating the greenhouse can be exhausting, but it has its rewards. "It's awesome when I see participants light up when they try something new and find out they're good at it, or when they dance around to their favorite music while they're working."

I'm very proud of the greenhouse staff and my friends," says Hayes. "My favorite plants are geraniums and coleus. I like it here, I enjoy communicating with everyone. Everything is smooth."

General Information:

For information on Mountain Valley Greenhouse, call (970) 230-9704 or email moutainvalleygh@gmail.com

Mountain Valley Developmental Services https://www.mtnvalley.org/


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