Bits of Hope
In our foundational program, Bits of Hope, participants are paired in one on one mentoring relationships with an adult leader. Each individual will work with a mentor 2-4 sessions per month. Individual sessions last 90 minutes at the Ranch and can include a variety of activities including riding, ranch chores, vetting and caring for the Ranch’s rescued horses, gardening, games, and crafts to name a few.
The goal is not to teach horseback riding lessons, but to build relationship and teach participants the basics of farm life, horsemanship, and husbandry. While riding will be a part of some sessions, it is not the main objective of the mentoring time. The primary objective is to meet each person and animal where they are. We recognize that every participant is an individual. Mentors and parents will work together to identify specific needs for each participant and set appropriate goals. These sessions are offered absolutely free of charge for every participant. Donations are always welcome!
Who Can Participate in the Mentoring Program?
Anyone who feels like they can benefit from what Refuge offers. While our target group is children, ages 5 – 18, we have also served adult women from local homeless and domestic violence shelters. Our programs are offered absolutely free of charge and we do not limit our services to people from a particular social or economic background. These are the only requirements for participating in the programs here at Refuge:
- Participants, both children and adults alike must WANT to be here. Willingness and a desire to participate are necessary components for healing and change.
- All children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. In addition to liability laws, we believe that a child benefits greatly from having a parent or caregiver here to cheer them on!
- All participants must have attended an initial orientation with a parent or guardian and have a signed copy of the Illinois Equine Activity Liability Act as well as a signed release form and other required Ranch paperwork on file.