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AntFarm sees growth, popularity


The nonprofit groups programs are making a difference for area youths

Work is progressing quickly on the AntFarm Café & Bakery, said Kim Wheeler, a board member for AntFarm, a nonprofit agency in Sandy providing area youths opportunities to improve their lives.

Those opportunities include work experience, tutoring, community service, education and employment.

Through donations of time and money, Sandy area residents have helped make the dream come true of having an operating café, supplied by a garden, and both enterprises operated solely by young people working in AntFarm. It is anticipated that 48 youths can be employed part-time at the café and bakery.

“Anticipation is so high around here,” Wheeler said, “that we can already smell the bread baking.”

New faces

With AntFarm’s growth, some new employees were needed. Tarun Gudz is the new operations manager and is helping with the café and bakery. She also helps with what Wheeler describes as “keeping a smooth office flow” while AntFarm continues its growth.

Also new is T.J. Frisch, the garden supervisor. He can be seen working in the community garden, rain or shine.

Doug Varenas, Cory Warner and Justin Teerlinck are AntFarm’s new student interns, and Wheeler says she’s “very excited to have their ideas and energy on our team.”

Wesley Grout is not exactly new, Wheeler said, but she increased her hours to full-time so AntFarm can provide more youths with the attention they need.

Wheeler is even more excited about the number and enthusiasm of the volunteers serving AntFarm youths.

“Most importantly,” she said, “an ongoing welcome to our many volunteers. We love all the passion, dedication and spirit you bring to AntFarm. You make this place great.”

The newest additions to the AntFarm Board of Directors include Dina Yerex, Olga Gerberg and Wheeler.

Work experience

AntFarm’s supported employment partnership program with the Skibowl resort on Mount Hood has helped 16 youths with work experience at the Tube Hill Adventure Park and Summit ski areas. AntFarm has become a buzzword on the mountain, Wheeler said, “for top-notch, quality employees as our youths represent themselves and the community.”

Also among the opportunities for work experience is the community garden near Suburban Ford.

Recently, some carrots and potatoes were dug and are being prepared for donation to the Sandy Community Action Center.

Soil is being prepared for planting soon, Wheeler said. And the compost piles are growing larger and keeping the red wiggler worms busy making new soil.

“Things are moving along great,” Wheeler said, “thanks to our amazing volunteers and community.”

AntFarm programs

The main opportunities to volunteer are coverage for the AntFarm office between 1 and 6 p.m. Monday or Friday. The office volunteer assists with filing, document scanning and data entry.

The Axis Learning Center welcomes volunteer tutors to meet weekly with youths who require assistance with schoolwork. The Axis Learning lab is open from 1-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Community Connect program runs every Saturday and could use help, working for elders in Sandy who need yard and home assistance.

“Soon we will be planting and weeding the community garden,” Wheeler said, “which will be even bigger than last year.”

Contact us

AntFarm’s new office hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the facility is at 39140 Proctor Blvd.

To register to volunteer call 503-622-3548 or visit Antfarm-international.com.