Feature Stories

Helping People with Disabilities Lead Productive, Happy Lives

Feb 17, 2020


As we work together to Commit for Change, in which full-time employees can take up to five days of paid time off a year to volunteer in our local communities, consider celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17) by scheduling time to help at Lambs Farm, a nonprofit organization in Libertyville, Ill.


Lambs Farm, which Astellas is proud to support year-round, provides services to help people with developmental disabilities lead meaningful and productive lives. Lambs Farm serves more than 250 residents who work and live onsite and make contributions to the community while living as self-sufficiently as possible. Lambs Farm operates several businesses with participation from residents, including the Farmyard, Dogwood Garden & Pet Center, Cedar Chest Thrift Shop, Magnolia Café & Bakery, Sugar Maple Country Store and Lambs Industries, which offers mailing and laundry services.


How our Lambs Farm Partnership Began

The Astellas partnership with Lambs Farm began a decade ago when Mark Niemaszek, vice president of Astellas Commercial Operations, initiated the relationship. What started as an annual summer volunteer day has turned into continuous support with funds for projects, purchase of meals at Magnolia Café, and providing hundreds of volunteers to assist with a wide variety of tasks. In June of 2019, 50 employees from Commercial Operations helped with landscaping and painting projects throughout the Farm. On our most recent Changing Tomorrow Day, 100 employees organized items in the Thrift Shop, exercised the precious rescue pups, and cleaned the bunny enclosures.


For the last four years, , members of the Abilities Employee Impact Group (AEIG) coordinated volunteers to work at Lambs Farm between September and December to support the bakery over the critical holiday season. In 2019, thanks in part to the help of  close to 400 Astellas volunteers, holiday sales were up 6.5% from 2018. AEIG community chair and Assistant Director Government Pricing Jeff Letizia says, “We come together as a team with a mission to make a difference in each other’s lives and the lives of others. The items we produce  provide revenue for Lambs Farm and give us the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with the Participants.”


AIEG chair and Commercial Technology Director Stacy Singer Stone says, “Lambs Farm is a special place to volunteer. The work they are doing to empower people with disabilities by giving them a job and a sense of community is powerful. I always enjoy volunteering at Lambs Farm because it puts everything into perspective. The Participants have an incredible energy and are always super excited to see an Astellas volunteer.”


Through our work at Lambs Farm, we demonstrate our commitment to diversity and inclusion by helping people with developmental disabilities. Lambs Farm is a place that helps those with disabilities feel safe and empowered to choose the working and living environments that best suit them, decide how to spend their free time and learn new skills and hobbies. It’s a place where volunteers – individuals, groups and corporations – make a difference in the lives of hundreds of people every year.


Consider volunteering at Lambs Farm this year! The volunteer time and energy we give to help create brighter futures for patients and neighbors in our local communities serves as an important reflection of who Astellas is as a company. Contact Angela Ramert at asr@lambsfarm.org to learn more and sign up for a volunteer time.