Highlanders play host to dominant Dutton Farm in charity basketball game

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Rochester Post | Published January 30, 2024


ROCHESTER HILLS — It’s the highly anticipated hardwood classic everyone around the city of Rochester has been waiting for.

In their third-consecutive meeting, the Rochester Adams varsity girls and boys basketball teams will host the Dutton Farm Farmers in a 5v5 charity basketball game at 1 p.m. Feb. 3 at Adams High School. Doors are set to open at 12:30 p.m.

Dutton Farm, a 501(c)3 nonprofit in Rochester Hills, is a daily program focused on supporting adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities with various programs, such as adult education, community involvement and workforce development.

Adult education focuses on animal therapy and horticulture. Community involvement allows the Farmers to be active members in the community by taking part in various activities, such as contributing to Meals on Wheels and playing bingo with senior citizens. Workforce development activities help set up members into an employment scenario that fits their skills and desires. 

Dutton Farm offers a wide range of support to adults starting at the age of 26, and it currently has over 120 Farmers.

“There’s programs in a lot of high schools where they have a post-high transition period where anyone with a special need that wants to go into this program, they offer that after high school from 18-26,” Kim Staudacher, the director of development for Dutton Farm, said. “Well after 26, there’s kind of like a dip in society, and there weren’t a lot of things out there for loved ones that had a special need. We are a program that offers that for families.”

Dutton Farm and Adams have had an ongoing friendship the past few years through their love for the game of basketball, which happens to be a strong suit for many Farmers.

Dutton Farm places heavy emphasis on allowing its Farmers to have the proper exercise opportunities needed, playing basketball and soccer at the United Wholesale Mortgage Sports Complex in Pontiac.

Dutton Farm already bested Oakland Christian’s varsity basketball team Jan. 6, and now they’ll turn their attention to the Highlanders.

At the end of the day, it’s for the love of the game and the love of the community, and Staudacher said the Farmers can’t get enough of the game of basketball.

“They just love showing their skills and going out there and having fun,” Staudacher said. “That’s what it’s all about. It’s about having fun and being a part of the community.”

First-year Adams head coach Isaiah Novak forefronted the continued relationship with Dutton Farm along with significant contributions from Marie Kardasis, the mother of senior guard Peter Kardasis; Tisa Waechter, the mother of senior guard Will Dee; and many other Adams parents.

“We really do focus on doing these community service projects,” Novak said. “What’s really cool about it is that our parents and our student-athletes are super committed to it. It’s something they enjoy doing. There were a few of them that were volunteering with Dutton Farm in the summer and volunteering on their own time to just do basketball training with some of the Farmers.”

Each team will feature three Farmers and two Highlanders during the matchup, which will also feature a halftime dance party, with Farmers taking the court to show off their dancing skills. Prizes will be awarded to the dancers with the best moves.

The Highlanders are hoping to raise $5,000 from 50/50 raffles, T-shirt sales, concessions and a silent auction featuring University of Michigan basketball tickets and a signed basketball by Michigan State University legend Mateen Cleaves.

For more information on Dutton Farm and their story or how to donate, visit www.duttonfarm.org.