We currently provide a beautiful 3800 square foot home on a 45 acre horse ranch for girls ages 6-18. The home is surrounded with rolling pastures, a scenic pond and is also home to 11 horses and other loving animals on the property. A nurturing houseparent couple lives in the home with the girls full-time and cares for their daily needs while helping them learn daily life skills. In addition to the house parents, a full time female mentor lives in the home helping the girls and provides additional support on evenings and weekends. Girls may stay in the home within a range of thirty days up to the age of 21 as needed.
We provide individual equine assisted counseling and learning from an experiential learning model. Our staff is EAGALA certified. (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) Beyond individual sessions, we provide equine assisted learning in group sessions for students to develop skills of communication, cooperation, anger management, self-regulation, boundaries and trust to help them make good decisions within peer groups. At the heart of the matter is helping families develop a healthy family system. We provide equine assisted learning sessions for families to work on developing positive relational skills to overcome past obstacles. Our focus is to help families redeem the past, restore peace, and renew hope for a brighter future.
We seek to help students set goals for their academic program needs. We use a blended approach of virtual academy and hands-on learning. We provide applicable learning opportunities throughout the day beyond their virtual learning classes. We provide credit recovery opportunities for youth while they are enrolled at SSR. Students can continue the virtual academy even when they leave the ranch for continual success.
The program includes daily opportunities to learn new life skills in order to become confident, self-sufficient and independent. For example, students will grow a majority of their own food learning to plant, care and then prepare or preserve their food products. Students will have the opportunity to learn a wide variety of skills from cooking to basic home and car maintenance. SSR is a true working horse ranch where students help take care of the animals as they are part of our extended family. Girls will learn responsibility and respect as they share in the daily chores to feed, groom and provide basic first-aid care for the horses. Volunteers from the community will provide additional opportunities to teach the girls specific skills such as: how to quilt, crochet, cooking and baking classes, sewing, gardening, music lessons, personal finances, time management, fitness and nutrition, resumes and interviewing, and a wide assortment of other interests, skills and even job shadowing to learn different career paths.
We will help girls to reach out and give back to others by doing outreach projects. We will partner with local churches, schools and neighbors to provide service projects. We trust that out of hard work with their hands and feet, their hearts will be touched the most. Each summer, students will be invited to participate in a mission trip within the State of Ohio. We will do the same type of community service projects but just at a bigger scale.
At the core of who we are, we believe in demonstrating the unconditional love of God to help our students know that He loves them and has a plan and purpose for their lives according to Jeremiah 29:11 Our entire program is designed for students to experience God’s healing in their hearts to overcome their past and begin to walk in blessings as they make healthy life choices, one step at a time.
We incorporate horses for personal growth and learning. Clients learn about themselves and others by participating in ground activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) their thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and patterns. Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear and develop confidence. The size and power of the horse are naturally intimidating to many people. Accomplishing a task involving the horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides for wonderful metaphors when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life. Horses are sensitive to non-verbal communication and respond to what messages the clients give them in the moment. The moment becomes a learning opportunity when the client discovers that if they change themselves, the horses will respond differently.
The participant is given the opportunity to build a relationship with a horse that they choose. The horse begins to respond to the mannerisms that the participant offers which allows the participant to recognize unhealthy patterns based on consequences. The opportunity becomes a valuable learning process of modeling a healthy relationship with their horse which can apply to human relationships as well.
Instruction is given for basic riding. Techniques are given for self-regulation and regulation of your horse. Participants are encouraged to be in sync with their horse. The riding takes place in an arena where music is played during session. The participant learns that to control their horse, they must first control their own responses.
We all are shaped by our experiences. Sometimes we experience negative feelings within ourselves because of outward influences or circumstances. At SSR, we provide opportunities for students to unlearn negative patterns of behaviors by creating a new experience with new approaches to handling stressful situations.
Symptoms such as fear, regression, aggression, hyper vigilance, sleep issues, mood swings, and oppositional behaviors as well as drug use, risk-taking behaviors, and eating issues are often noted by caregivers. Many of the children and teens we have served have been diagnosed with:
The process allows for metaphorical learning as everything done with the horses is related to what is happening at home, school, work, and in relationships. By involving activities with our horses and donkeys, clients develop and apply skills including: healthy non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking, problem solving, leadership, work ethics, taking responsibility for one’s own actions, team work, healthy relationships, confidence, and healthy attitudes.