Veterans Art and Farm Therapy was created after working for years as an public school art teacher and owning a summer horse and art camp for kids. As a business owner, many of my client’s parents were veterans and activity duty military. The parents never wanted to leave the farm and often just hung out after camp ended saying about their child, "She doesn't want to leave." Yet, they were the ones expressing quietly, “I want to come to camp here.”
Year after year I heard this and slowly an idea developed.
I thought about all the military families in need of support in my area. We are a very large military community with Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and Army bases! I already worked with kids at my summer camp and impoverished adolescents in my school setting, I had the horses and farm experience. I used to be an art therapist and am the City elected Director for the Soil and Water Conservation District. I understand organizing people and events. In addition, my dad, x-husband and fiance are all veterans of war. I'm a veteran of the Peace Corps.
The charity, sponsored entirely by volunteer donations and Stargazer Stables Horse and Art Camps has worked well so far. Veterans and their families are helped through outdoor activities to reintegrate into society. By helping the parents of these children and adolescents and letting the parents do activities around the farm with their kids, the families stress level changes. Non- technically speaking, the brain changes the more positive input it is exposed to. The brain is a muscle the more positive experience it is exposed to the bigger the positive neurons become.
Veterans art and Farm is free to veterans. It is free to veteran’s families wanting to do activities with their kids and its open to veteran volunteers and their kids.
The horse aspect of the farm is a magnet for women and children and many of our disabled veterans are mothers that are going through some tough times. Teaching them to relax, let go of stress and seeing how the horses react to the change in their disposition helps them be better parents and better citizens.