Tino’s Farm, a transition center for men fighting to stay sober, opened this month as a legacy to Constantino Del Signore who was known for his abundant generosity.
Shortly after Del Signore died at the Lyon Township farm in a 2010 tractor accident, his family and friends knew he would like to see the home used to help men fighting to stay sober.
“Tino got the idea for a center when he was in New York and had a thought to use his farm for rehab for other people, as a perfect and peaceful spot away from temptation,” said his father, John Del Signore, a Livonia resident. “When he passed we decided to make the house for that.”
A safe place
The 37-acre farm on Eight Mile and Currie roads is a transition center that will eventually house 12 men who are at least 18 years old and are working on maintaining sobriety. Each man will be expected to hold a job, pay a stipend to live at Tino’s, do chores in the garden and tend to the farm animals.
Del Signore said someday he hopes to build a kitchen in the farm’s barn to teach residents how to cook, which will offer them a skill they can use when they leave Tino’s Farm.
“Work therapy is good for the soul,” said Tom Crabill, a Constantino Del Signore Foundation board member. It’s important for men who have recently become sober to have a structured environment like Tino’s Farm, he added. “This is a safe environment.”
In life Tino always found a way to help others – he launched the CDS Foundation more than 20 years when a church in the province of L’Aquila in Abruzzo, Italy, needed a roof. Then Tino, along with other CDS board members, decided organizations in Michigan could use help, too.
CDS now supports cancer research and other causes, like the South Lyon chapter of FAN (Families Against Narcotics), St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Garden City Hospital, Botsford Hopsital in Farmington Hills, Angela Hospice in Livonia, Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Safari Club International and other organizations, as well as the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund, which Tino founded.
In death, Tino’s spirit of generosity continues.
Helping men with addictions was the next logical step, said Richard Asztalos, CDS Foundation president.
“We’re taking baby steps,” he said, adding that Tino’s Farm does more than help the men living there, it also raises awareness about addictions. “It’s maddening right now with the epidemic going on with heroin.”
Tino would be ecstatic about using the house for men fighting addictions, John Del Signore said.
CDS worked with Dawn’s Farm in Ann Arbor to create a model for rules and expectations at Tino’s Farm, Asztalos said. The Lyon Township facility, however, won’t provide treatment. Alcoholics Anonymous and Bible studies will be held at the farm with hopes of reaching people of all ages, including teens, Crabill said.
“Working with teens was our first intention,” said Constantino’s mother, Lina. “I hope someday that dream will come true.”
Asztalos and other CDS board members are in the process of placing six men who will live at Tino’s Farm. For more information call house manager Paul Frescoln at 248-860-4990 or Jerry Costanza, intake director, at 734-216-3621.
Every year since Del Signore’s death, CDS Foundation has held annual picnics to raise the $500,000 to start Tino’s Farm. The fourth annual event is Aug, 23 at Tino’s Farm. The sign outside reads Sweet Acres, 55880 Eight Mile Road. With proceeds going to local organizations, the picnic is sponsored in cooperation with Livonia Save Our Youth, Families Against Narcotics, St. Mary Mercy Hospital, Botsford Hospital and Safari Club International Chapter – Michigan Southeast Bow Hunters.
“This is Tino’s legacy,” John Del Signore said.
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