California Farm Helps Struggling Students By Bonding With Animals

by Karen Ruffini
Karen is the News Editor for She loves to have adventures, and her camera acts as her fifth limb. Her best friends are novel characters, and she doesn't care if you think that's weird.

I grew up on a dead end street, and every night, all the kids got together to play tag or catch fireflies.

I remember my childhood very fondly, and I can always think back on it and smile.

But sometimes, when kids are surrounded by unhealthy activities in their neighborhood, like gang violence or drug use, there can be very little hope for a way out.

Karen Snook, now Executive Director at the Kindred Spirits Care Farm, realized that after 20 years in the corporate world, she needed to follow her heart.

Now, the Kindred Spirits Care Farm in California does just that.

It gives kids an escape from the harsh realities of life.

“As soon as I got here, everything changed,” said one student. The life he used to lead was not exemplary, but since coming to Kindred Spirits Care Farm, there’s been an incredibly positive impact.

“I didn’t go to school. Sometimes I would get dropped off in the morning and I’d start walking home afterward. But then I came to this school and I just loved it.”

Snook explains what it’s like once a kid opens up to the new possibilities at the farm.

“When I see these students open up, when I see these students get courage, when I see these students bond with an animal… it’s the best feeling in the whole world. It’s like oh my gosh, maybe for the first time in my life I’ve made a difference, that maybe a life is better because I happened to be there or I was a part of it.”

To be able to give these kids a way to connect with the animals and the earth is so inspiring — I love that these kids are able to grow and learn, and take these amazing lessons with them!

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