Leg Up Farm on Saturday will unveil a $3.5 million addition to its 18-acre therapy center for children.

The nonprofit is hosting an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 4880 N. Sherman St. in Mount Wolf. Guests will get an up-close look at the center's new therapy pool and wellness room, while also bidding on items in a silent auction.

The pool is the latest piece of CEO Louie Castriota Jr.'s vision for the campus, which also includes therapy gardens, an accessible playground, horse stables, a koi pond and classrooms.

Water levels adjust to the needs of the child, and the entire floor of the pool is a treadmill.

"The buoyancy will allow children to make new movements. It will help them move in ways they aren't able to out of water," Castriota said.

Leg Up Farm's new wellness center will also offer pediatric massage, a movement room, physical therapy gym and accommodations for more autistic support.

The 14,000-square-foot addition was funded by a low-interest loan program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, grants and contributions, Castriota said.

"About 97 percent of the grants and contributions came from businesses and individuals outside of York County, and I'm very proud of that reach," he said.

The facility: Since opening in 2010, Leg Up Farm has served more than 1,000 children with disabilities. The facility will host more than 20,000 therapy appointments this year.

"It's a tremendous honor to be able to support these wonderful children," Castriota said.


One of those children is his 17-year-old daughter, Brooke, who has mitochondrial disease -- a metabolic disorder that causes cognitive and motor-function delays.

She inspired his business plan, which continues to grow, he said.

Leg Up Farm currently serves individuals who are 21 and younger, but Castriota has plans to change that.

He said he would like to add programming that will help children who have used the facility to live more independently into adulthood. Those plans will add an organic garden, greenhouses, a farmer's market and residential housing at the site.

Castriota said he is also creating a program to serve veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. In the program, veterans with PTSD will train therapy horses that will be used in therapeutic riding programs for children with disabilities.

He's also in talks with Temple University to build a second Leg Up Farm location at one of its campuses, where a high-level research study would be conducted, Castriota said.

"We want to have a positive impact on children across the country," he said.

Castriota visited Temple two weeks ago, but no plans have been finalized.

"I'm satisfied with what we're doing, but there's still so much left to do," he said. "My work isn't done by any means."

-- Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.