Curtis Hall is fortunate to spend the better part of his working week with professional artist, David Lussier. When Curtis transitioned out of high school to adult services, it was our intention to have Curtis fill his days by being productive doing what he loves to do— create artwork!

David has been working with Curtis for seven years now. David writes—

I make my living as a professional artist; selling paintings in galleries, conducting outdoor workshops, holding classes in my studio and by attending plein air events around the country. Curt comes to work at the studio 3 days a week. He observes what is going on in a busy studio and absorbs the information like a sponge. On some occasions, Curtis will watch me paint a demonstration for students in a class. He enjoys it when other students are in the studio painting. He likes being a part of a working studio environment. He enjoys taking a break from his work to walk around and see what each student is working on. They in turn, like to walk over to see what Curt is working on. One example of Curt utilizing information given in a class is a day that I used a very specific color palette for my demonstration and later, looking at Curt’s work for the day, I saw that he was utilizing the exact same color palette in colored pencil that I was using for oil paints. Curtis processes what he learns in his own unique way that is personal yet universal. He sees the world in an abstract way and works with patterns and colors that vibrate on the paper. Curtis often likes to explore a subject by working in a series.

After three days at the art studio, Curtis also looks forward to work at the Creative Living Community of CT greenhouse! His favorite job is to fill as many trays as possible with soil in order to properly prepare them for seeding. Curtis is also learning how to seed and water the tender micro greens. There are other jobs, too, which include cleaning trays, vacuuming, greeting visitors and delivering the product. Through his participation, Curtis is able to be a productive member of the community. Curtis will be 30 in September and lives at home with his mom and dad, Randy and Cindy in Coventry. Curtis’ older sister, Crystal, lives in Baltimore, MD. Trips to the local farmer’s market to get Kettle Korn or riding in his dad’s 47 Ford farm truck are some of his favorite activities.

About David: 
David is a compassionate and encouraging plein air workshop instructor. He is one of the top plein air painters working in the United States today and his passion for painting and teaching runs deep. David has a unique ability to reach each student where they are at with their knowledge of painting and to help them understand their painting strengths and weaknesses. David is committed to helping each student reach that goal. With his laid-back and friendly personality matched with an intense passion for painting, a workshop with David is a rewarding experience.


Andy enjoys his volunteer job at CLCC—he loves his co-workers and the sense of being part of a team, the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution and the chance to socialize with people other than his family. It helps provide what every adult needs: a sense of responsibility, a feeling accomplishment, and a reason to get up and out in the morning.”

– Zownir Family


My name is Alex.

I am 23 years old and have High Functioning Autism. I volunteer at the greenhouse on Thursdays. I also help out at the farmers markets and enter the data from the volunteer sign in sheet. The greenhouse has been very good for me. It gets me out of the house. Some of the activities make me feel relaxed and proud of myself.

When I am there, it’s a friendly and safe atmosphere. I am trying to improve my work skills to get a paid job. At the greenhouse I work on eye contact, conversation skills and get the chance to keep practicing these skills. Jobs I do include: seeding, cleaning trays, recycling dirt/soil, and weeding the garden. I enjoy each task. Cleaning is challenging, but I have improved. A task list helps me to improve. Lexi, the greenhouse coordinator, gives me good tips and advice. The soil recycling is the most relaxing job.

I like being with other people who have similar disabilities. There are people without disabilities, and I feel equal to everyone there. Social events allow me and the other volunteers to see each other in a fun atmosphere. They have events such as bowling and having a meal together. I like having pizza together.


My name is Ryan Feeney.
I’m 30 years old and I live in Manchester. I work In Rocky Hill at Westside Market IGA as a cashier for the past 1 1/2 years. I also play the trumpet in local community bands. I’ve been involved with CLCC for the past 2 years. I volunteer at the greenhouse with cutting the micro greens and package them up so they can be delivered to local area restaurants. I’m also involved in the Arts in the afternoon which makes different arts and crafts. I also am involved with the activity’s such as bowling and Dave and Busters. I’ve gone to the CLCC’s fundraising events and thoroughly enjoyed them. I have enjoyed my time with CLCC and I have gotten to meet a lot of great people that have become my friends. I’m glad to be a part of this wonderful organization and I look forward to many more years with CLCC.

Our Friends

Matt, Romell, Sarah, Mr. Barone and Ms. Murray. Some of them are sporting the new CLCC tshirt during a recent work day at the greenhouse!  Here is what they say about their experience at the CLCC greenhouse this fall –

I never knew that there was a market for micro greens.

We have learned that there are different kinds of micro greens.

I liked that I learned how to harvest the micro greens.

We learned that we like them on sandwiches!

We have met new friends and enjoy talking with them.

We enjoy coming here!

CLCC is grateful to this hard working group of students, and all their efforts with the many taskNew Friendss of preparing the greenhouse for the winter!

Crystal and Curt

I am a sibling of a person with a developmental disability, or as we’re known in the disability world, a “sib.”  My brother Curtis is a twenty-seven year old with autism.  Although I’m considered the “typical” sibling, being the sibling of a person with a developmental disability is by no means a typical experience.  In the future I will be legally, financially and relationally responsible for my brother in the same way that my parents are now.

My experience as a sibling is in no way unique.  According to the Center for Disease Control, one in six children in the United States currently has a developmental disability.  When these children become adults, that will require a range of support systems to provide for their physical, emotional, spiritual and vocational needs.  Therefore there are literally hundreds of thousands of families that will be, and are currently, confronted with the same questions of how to best provide for their children with developmental disabilities as they leave the school system and aging parents are no longer able to fill the role of primary care givers.

Curtis & SiblingAs state and federal resources for families continue to dwindle, CLCC’s farmstead village will not only fulfill an immediate need by providing a supportive living environment for people with developmental disabilities like my brother.  It can also be a space in which people with developmental disabilities themselves are empowered to be self-advocates.  It can be a space in which families and other concerned individuals advocate for just and sustainable policies and practices that allow people with developmental disabilities to not only live, but live fully and flourish.

CLCC is important for me as a sibling, because it is one piece of the puzzle toward creating a society in which people with developmental disabilities are valued as full human beings and contributing members of society.


RichardRichard has been a longtime volunteer in the CLCC greenhouse. He has done it all, from seeding, to harvesting, and even packaging micro greens to be delivered to customers. He finally was able to see the final stage of this food cycle last winter when he delivered the greens directly to Firebox restaurant in Hartford.

Richard works part time at Home Goods in Vernon and worked for years at the Friendly’s in Manchester.  He has a great sense of humor and is always ready to tell you a joke or two.  Richard lives at home with his mother and is very excited to think about the possibilities of having his own apartment in the CLCC Farm Community

Nick and Ben

It is said that the bond between siblings is like none other. Siblings typically have the longest relationships throughout a lifetime and communicate in unique ways because of that longevity.

Clara Ortega puts it this way –
To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a sibling to someone with special needs? Siblings of an individual with special needs worry about the quality of their brother’s or sister’s future.  Nick is Ben’s younger brother. Ben’s family has been involved in the work of Creative Living Community of Connecticut since its inception. Nick shares his thoughts in this way.

I am forever blessed to have Ben as my older brother. The connection we have as siblings is like no other. No matter how much I try to teach him, he always will be able to teach me more. I’ve become a more caring, responsible, loving and understanding person having him in my life. The best part of Ben is that he loves me unconditionally. Seeing a smile on his face never fails to make me smile. He brings so much joy to my life, and I don’t know where I would be without him.

CLCC’s mission is to support siblings like Nick, so that together we can work toward securing Ben’s future wellbeing and safety. CLCC’s first program demonstration at the greenhouse gives Ben a sense of purpose during his weekly routine. This program has become reality with your support and involvement!

We look forward to the acquisition of property for the farm community to make our ultimate vision a reality!

Luis and Sarah

These two students are from the Polaris School in East Hartford. They had the opportunity to volunteer in the CLCC greenhouse, and now they are learning about the jobs at the Round Hill Alpaca Farm. The RoundJean and Luis Hill Alpaca Farm hosts several alpacas which will be part of the CLCC farm when it is up and running.

Each week students come not only to see and learn about the alpacas, but also to learn and help with all the various tasks needed to keep the farm in good order.

Luis says that he likes to work with animals – getting to know their names and all about alpacas.   Luis enjoys learning how to use the leaf blower and digging the aged compost into buckets to bring back to the school’s vegetable garden.

Sarah loves to fill the feed bins and the hay feeders.  They enjoy feeding the alpacas treats and watching them in the pasture.

Thanks to both of you for jobs well done!


My name is Mitchell. I am 22 years old and I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, the highest functioning form of Autism, at the age of 8. After the age of 21, my school system did not really offer any services. I had a lot of transition programs, but none of them were really a good fit for me. I also did not qualify for any state programs, which has left me nowhere to turn. I feel like all my life, my world has been very difficult and now scary at times to navigate. There are somedays where I don’t even feel comfortable in my own skin. Every day is a challenge for me and I hope I can one day get on the right path and resolve my issues. I know I won’t be perfect and that there will still be bumps in the road, but I hope that I can one day turn out to be the young man I was always meant to be. I hope that with programs like CLCC, I can find others who are going through the same thing I am going through, and I can look forward to living and working in a supporting environment so I can look forward to a positive future.

We all have potential. I just need to learn to grasp mine and gain self confidence. I hope this may help someone that is struggling with highfunctioning Autism and feels like there may be hope to one day have a caring community to support them.


Teddy recently started volunteering at the CLCC greenhouse.  He waters the micro greens and the new outside garden on Saturday afternoons with his mom Lynn. He is excited to be part of the greenhouse volunteer crew and looks forward to his trips to the greenhouse. He doesn’t even mind getting a little wet as he waters and loves telling everyone that plants need water every day!  He is pictured here showing his grandmother, Marie Zerba, around the greenhouse.Teddy with his grandmother Marie Zerba