There’s more to life than dance, even when you’re a state-championship contender. Building on athletic director Leon Hammond’s push for all McIntosh athletic teams to participate in community service, the Chiefettes dance team got their hands dirty at a farm that helps cancer patients.
The Chiefettes and coach Carmen Yarbrough volunteered at 180 Degree Farm for more than two hours, pulling weeds from the pea and kale plants.
“I hope the girls take away from the experience that you are never too busy to take a few hours out of your day to help someone else. Pulling weeds and ‘farming’ was out of their element for sure,” said Yarbrough. “They have a deeper appreciation for what goes into the farming process and growing food, and how the proper diet and food truly can nourish your body.”
The team-up was natural as the farm is run by McIntosh alums. Started by Scott and Nicole Tyson, 180 Degree Farm is a non-profit dedicated to growing, giving, and teaching, especially to those fighting cancer.
“We wanted the opportunity to do something that would impact people directly in our community,” said Yarbrough. “It is always beneficial to support a local service, and you never know when you or a family member may benefit from that specific charity one day. Cancer has directly impacted my life personally as I lost my mom to breast cancer 5 years ago, and I know cancer has touched so many other lives.”
The story of 180 Degree Farm began when the Tysons’ son Mason was diagnosed with cancer at just 4 years old. While researching the effects of an organic, nutrient-dense diet on his cancer, they founded their farm. Through their “Food Fight Program,” where they provide the healthy food options cancer fighters need to strengthen them for their battle. They also host an on-farm market open to the community every Saturday where they sell seasonal vegetables, fruit, meats, juices, and more.
“The girls really enjoyed the peace and serenity of the farm, and it was a great bonding experience for us as well. To hear stories of the girls and how they help their families, and to just have time to step away from school and athletics for a few hours to focus on something else, was a really special experience for us,” said Yarbrough. “I know the girls took away a lot from the experience because they have asked if we can please find another time to go back and help.”
For more information on 180 Degree Farm, go to 180degreefarm.com.