The Michigan Abilities Center was founded in May, 2006 and Heritage Hill Haven was founded in May, 2015 by the Hinderers. Drs. Kathy and Steve Hinderer are both rehabilitation professionals who have devoted their lives to serving those with special needs of all ages and abilities for over 35 years via clinical care, teaching, research, and co-authoring several chapters in leading rehabilitation textbooks. Consequently, they knew how beneficial farm life would be for their son, Ben, who was born emergency C-section with an Apgar of 2/10 and was diagnosed at a young age with a non-verbal learning disability and high functioning autism spectrum disorder with significant attention, coordination, fine motor, and sensory impairments. They decided to purchase Heritage Hill on Ben’s 7th birthday to benefit him and they also felt a calling to provide services at the farm to help others once Kathy finished her Ph.D. After several years of startup and training therapy horses, they formed the Michigan Abilities Center (MAC) on Ben’s 14th birthday to provide services to others with special needs. On Ben’s 23rd birthday they incorporated Heritage Hill Haven as a nonprofit in honor of him and Kathy’s parents to help ensure the provision of beneficial services to others for current and future generations. Under the guidance of his parents, the farm has indeed helped Ben overcome many challenges and learn valuable life skills, including developing an outstanding work ethic and financial responsibility.
Ben is now 24 years old, has completed his mechanics certifications, and is employed full time as a skilled mechanic at Briarwood Ford. He recently became engaged to be married on September 16, 2017 to a wonderful young lady and he has purchased a home nearby with a shop,
all on his own. This differs significantly from outcomes doctors and teachers predicted for Ben.
Heritage Hill Haven allows those like Ben who “march to the beat of a different drummer” to thrive and maximize their abilities and potential.
In addition, the Haven provides opportunities that foster life skills for youth and families, including the importance of volunteer service;
thus following Kathy’s parents’ example, who prioritized service to others well into their 80s.
Ben with “Nana & PopPop” McDonald at his graduation in May, 2010