by Jeff Pederson
for The Beacon
The Production Farm (TPF), a non-profit mental and behavioral health service agency specializing in person-centered, creative programs offered through the lens of trauma-informed care, has completed the purchase of the former Pentecostals of Sheboygan County church building in downtown Sheboygan Falls.
The facility joins The Production Farm’s Manitowoc County facility in Whitelaw, as a physical hub for the organization’s non-traditional mental health care services.
The Production Farm’s purchase of the Pentecostals of Sheboygan County church building was completed on Friday, Feb. 25.
“We have been steadily growing our presence in Sheboygan County and the need for services only continues to increase exponentially,” The Production Farm President, CEO and Founder Wyatt Kuether said. “Having this space allows us to be much more hands-on, efficient and impactful. We expect to be able to double the number of clients we serve in the near future.”
Located at 621 Broadway St. in Sheboygan Falls, the 100-year-old building most recently housed the Pentecostals of Sheboygan County church.
At 17,000 square feet, the facility will house a community food pantry, clothing resources and a hygiene closet with personal care items, including items collected during the recent Help for the Homeless Hygiene Drive in partnership with The Family Radio Network.
In Manitowoc County, The Production Farm primarily serves children under 18, but in Sheboygan County the reach extends to all ages.
The Production Farm’s trauma-informed, professional mental health services include psychotherapy, psychoeducation, skill development and enhancement services through outside-the-box methods such as access camps relationship-building, inclusive and creative experiential learning and training and advocacy in mental and behavioral health.
Individuals with a mental health diagnosis are referred to The Production Farm through Comprehensive Community Services (CCS) programs, youth justice, community programs and school districts.
Upon the close of the former Pentecostals of Sheboygan County building purchase, The Production Farm immediately switched gears into planning for an aesthetic overhaul to the new Sheboygan Falls facility.
According to Kuether, the biggest aspect of remodeling will be converting the former church sanctuary portion of the building into a flexible, community-oriented space.
“Clients will play a key role in creating the aesthetic of the building, as has always been the case at The Production Farm location in Manitowoc County,” Kuether said. “We’re reimagining mental health care and that starts with creating space – both physically and emotionally.
“We now have a safe and tangible place for those we serve in Sheboygan County to work toward healing and mental well-being through play, art, nature, music and community,” he said.
The transformation of the building from a church into a mental and behavioral health service facility is currently in the early stages.
“We are currently beginning the process of updating the lighting and electrical systems of the Falls Farm to better meet our unique programming needs and improve energy efficiency,” The Production Farm Facility Director Erik Foat said. “We are also working to begin the process of rebranding the Falls Farm facility through painting and limited carpentry projects, both of which will help us better present and utilize the space.”
Kuether says The Production Farm has been stepping up its efforts to assist youth and individuals in Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties.
“We’ve increased hours of service and individuals impacted by more than 33 percent in March 2022 over the previous year,” Kuether said. “In March 2022, we had 60 individuals impacted in Sheboygan County and 88 individuals impacted in Manitowoc County with a total of 298 youth transported to health and wellness programs covering 1,020 hours of direct service.
“So far in 2022, The Production Farms has transported 942 youth to health and wellness programs covering 3,229 hours of direct service. In 2021, TPF tallied a total of 11,321.5 hours of director service.”
During a Sheboygan Falls Plan Commission meeting in January, Kuether stated that The Production Farm’s Sheboygan Falls will also feature a strong social and community medical health educational element.
“Social and community health education is also a big part of what we do in helping people in getting through the challenges of daily life,” Keuther said. “Our ultimate goal is to make therapy something that people look forward to by implementing a non-traditional approach to traditional therapy. In addition to our regular behavioral health services, we are also looking at doing other events in kind of a community center format, such as movie nights. We are hoping events like this can give youth a good place to go and spend time in a positive environment outside of our traditional programming.”
The Production Farm originated in New York in 2014 with a group of celebrated figures of stage, television and film who wanted to give youth in need of mental and behavioral health care alternative opportunities to learn, grow and heal.
Inspired by the life of late friend and fellow founding mentor Robert Goldberg, Kuether, a Sheboygan native who had been working as an actor in various roles in the television and film industry in the New York area, The initial success of The Production Farm in Wisconsin led to the 2016 purchase of a peaceful and picturesque 10-acre farm in Whitelaw, where a growing number of young people receive a wide array of mental and behavioral health care offerings that are non-traditional, person-centered and trauma-informed.
Kuether is eager for the reach of The Production Farm to expand with the addition of the Sheboygan Falls facility.
“Individuals receiving care at the new Sheboygan Falls TPF facility will be supported by a creative care team working together to tailor and adapt custom programs that encourage those served to play, connect and grow in safe and meaningful ways,” Kuether said.