Hannah & Friends Farm breaks ground

It was a landmark day for Hannah & Friends and the Weis family on Saturday morning.

Irish head coach Charlie Weis, his wife Maura, son Charlie and daughter Hannah broke ground on the Hannah & Friends Farm, a living center for adults with special needs.

The project came about through the Hannah & Friends Foundation, inspired by the Weis family's 12-year-old daughter. Hannah suffers from global developmental delays.

Today was different as Hannah was all smiles as she shared a shovel with her mom to help break ground.

The Farm is located in St. Joe County next to Eggleston School on Hollyhock Road.

"What we want this to be when this is done is to be the Mecca, the model for how to do this," Charlie Weis said in front of a great crowd of supporters.

The Farm will be a full service living center for adults 18 and older with special needs. It will have houses, a recreational center, beach, pond and large pasture.

Charlie believes this will become a place people from all over the country will want to duplicate in order to assist those in their area with special needs.

His wife says it is much needed.

"With the explosion of autism and a lot of different types of special needs, people can really relate to this and understand that there is a whole group of people out there that need a home," Maura Weis explained.

According to Maura, more than 10,000 people with special needs in Indiana alone are looking for a home.

"We're doing it because of a need," Charlie explained. "Because of a need from people with special needs that become adults that need a place to live."

"As a parent of a kid with special needs, your biggest nightmare and fear is, 'What's going to happen when we're gone to our kid.'"

The family says it is possible that when she is older, Hannah will one day live at the Farm as well.

"This place will eventually become a great place for people with special needs," Hannah's older brother Charlie said. "A place for people with disabilities like Hannah to have a lot of fun and have a great life."

The Farm is something the Weis family thought of when they first started Hannah & Friends four years ago, but they never believed it would be coming so quickly.

One of the main reasons it has is due to the great support they are getting.

Notre Dame benefactor, Frank Eck, donated $250,000 towards the building of the farm.

The band Chicago, through their manager Peter Schivarelli, are contributing a portion of every concert ticket they sell to Hannah & Friends.

Schivarelli is a former Irish football walk-on.

The Weis' plan to begin construction in the next few weeks.

For more information about the organization please click on the Hannah & Friends link below.


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