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Archives for August 2013

Horse Stables: Work Experience Program

Our work experience program offers students many job opportunities in order to build character, responsibility, and work ethics. But who knew cleaning up manure and feeding horses in our stables could accomplish that? Working in the stables is a challenging job for some troubled youth because many of them have never worked any job, let alone one that is so labor-intensive and, well… mucky.  Brian, a former student, worked in the stables as part of our Work Experience Program. He cleaned out stalls, shoveled manure, and fed the animals.

Work Experience Program — The Hiring Process

Before Brian was able to work in the stables, he had to fill out an application, submit a resume, and go through an interview process. All work experience positions offered to students are supervised by job trainers. The two job trainers at our stables are Miss Lisa and Miss Gretchen.

Brian’s Experience

Brian said he liked working in the stables with Miss Lisa and Miss Gretchen. “[They] are absolutely awesome people to work with. They tell you what to do, but they are really laid back.” He continues, “It was fun to be around the horses especially because when I was cleaning up after them every day, I gained a more personal relationship with them.”

Working in the stables is a labor-intensive job; Brian says he did not mind the hard work and knows that when you work hard you will be tired at the end of the day. He constantly pushed himself to do it faster or more efficient. Working in the stables showed Brian how to respect authority and listen to directions. “Working in the stables helped me to get my morning energy out too,” Brian said with a smile.

Preparing for the Future

We offer different work experiences to our students to help build character, responsibility, work ethic, and respect within a work environment. All of these values will be vital to our students’ job search in their future. In our work experience program, we try to equip our guys with transferable work skills and good work ethics to help them become productive members of society.

Favre-4-Hope Foundation is Major Sponsor of 2013 Merrill Lynch Grand Gala

The Favre 4 Hope Foundation, established by Brett and Deanna Favre, have informed Rawhide Boys Ranch of their desire to become a Platinum level sponsor of the 2013 Merrill Lynch Grand Gala at the Green Bay Radisson on September 27. They have offered a matching gift challenge to Wisconsin residents encouraging them to purchase individual tickets for $125 or tables for $1,200 and receive a match, dollar for dollar, from the foundation up to $25,000 to benefit Rawhide.

Proceeds from the 2013 Grand Gala will specifically help fund a Brown County Community Service Initiative by Rawhide’s About Face program. This type of programming utilizes community service projects to rehabilitate at-risk youth while at the same time assisting thousands of citizens, elderly, low income and non-profit organizations. Funds raised will help enable youth enrolled at Rawhide to provide free community service support to individuals and organizations throughout the greater Green Bay area.

“We are thrilled that the Favre 4 Hope Foundation is supporting this special event with a matching gift to benefit Rawhide programs and allow donors the opportunity to double their gift and benefit the greater Green Bay area,” stated John Solberg, Executive Director of Rawhide. “This continues a commitment that Brett and Deanna Favre have demonstrated since first coming to Green Bay to supporting disadvantaged youth in our state.” Since 1995, Brett and Deanna’s foundation has contributed over 7 million to charities throughout Wisconsin and Mississippi.

The Favre 4 Hope Foundation joins other notable sponsors of the dinner event including Bernie and Alyce Dahlin of Green Bay as Platinum level sponsors, Dorsch Ford Lincoln Kia and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management of Green Bay as Gold level sponsors and the Green Bay Packers as Silver level sponsors.

The Gala will feature a wonderful plated meal at the Green Bay Radisson, entertainment by the popular band Big Mouth & the Power Tool Horns, and live auction items including autographed Green Bay Packers items from Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, a South African photo Safari, a Door County helicopter excursion, a 100-mile romantic flight in a jet aircraft, golfing packages, a guided fishing trip, a presidential quality 5-day wilderness horseback riding trip in the mountains of Cody, Wyoming, as well as, over a hundred silent auction items from a selection of premier gift baskets and luxury get away packages to area destinations.

An Angel in Training – Registered Therapy Dog

Meet Patti, the current housemother in the Smith Home. She just got a new puppy, a 6 month old Brussels Griffon, Angel, who she is training to become a registered therapy dog, a certified Canine Good Citizen, and an overall good family pet. Angel is a loving, energetic puppy who loves to play and do tricks. Although Angel is currently in training, she has already made three visits to the nearby nursing homes with plans to make many more visits in the future.

“Animals bring a lot of comfort and unconditional love to hurting people,” says Patti, “and because of that, they make great tools for therapy.” Animals are instrumental in helping our guys understand what unconditional love is. Angel is no match for the students who come to Rawhide. Patti smiles, “Even the toughest guy that comes here melts when they meet Angel.” Dogs express their love to everyone they meet, they do not discriminate or ask about your past; they love unconditionally no matter what. “This why animal therapy is so effective,” Patti continued, “Walking a dog on a leash around Rawhide is a one way that can be used to calm a guy down or to help him open up.”

When Angel turns one year old she will be certified as a therapy dog and then will be able to visit local nursing homes, hospitals, retirement homes and hospice centers. To complete her therapy dog certification, Angel needs to pass 10 different exercises. Due to Patti’s limited schedule as a housemother, she has hired a trainer that is able to come to Rawhide to help her and Angel accomplish their goals.

Patti said that the reason she wanted a dog in the first place because she wanted to help the students here and the people in the surrounding communities. One day she hopes that someone will return the favor to her, when she is in need or hurting, by visiting her with a therapy animal.

Patti has been active in the animal therapy program for about four years and has had other therapy dogs, such as Brandi Sue, also a Brussels Griffon who passed away in 2012. Brandi Sue was a registered therapy dog for about two years. Patti and Brandi Sue made frequent visits to nursing homes, hospice centers, and schools to comfort those in need in Northeast Wisconsin.

Brandi Sue’s passing was very hard on Patti and those in the community who came to know and love her. Angel has some large paws to fill, but with her bubbly, loving personally and her willingness to please, she is up to the challenge!

Angel’s role as a registered therapy dog, a certified Canine Good Citizen and a Rawhide family pet will impact many lives both at Rawhide and in the surrounding communities. Dogs express their love to everyone they meet, they do not discriminate, or ask you about your past, because they are more concerned about how much love they are showing you. We are very blessed to have such a generous housemother and therapy dog helping the guys at Rawhide and giving back to the local community.

Driftwood – 1,300 lbs of Equine Therapy

Here at Rawhide, we try to give our students and clients the love and respect they need, but oftentimes they are more apt to trust an animal before trusting another adult again. For this reason, we have an equine therapy program available to clients and students attending Rawhide.

REAP stands for Rawhide Equine Assisted Program, or in even simpler terms furry, four-legged, animal-assisted therapy. In the REAP program, we have a total of nine equine friends that live here on Rawhide grounds that help with the youth. Currently, we have five horses, three miniature horses, and a donkey. Almost all of the horses can be ridden, which in some cases is an option as a type of therapeutic counseling. However, the miniature horses and the donkey cannot be ridden because they are too small. Our furry friends help clients and students with issues like anger management, thinking errors, relationship building, and boundaries.

The first step of the REAP or equine therapy program is the introduction. In the introduction, the client is introduced to all of the animals in the barn. Normally, after the introduction the client is paired with the animal that will best challenge the client, but in some cases the animal gravitates towards a client. During the REAP sessions the client is confronted with various types of tasks including obstacle courses, activities, critical thinking processing, and most importantly learning how to do all of these tasks with their furry equine. Each animal in our barn has a different personality and strengths that help act as a tool to challenge our clients and teach them valuable lessons.

Almost all of our equine friends were generously donated to us for the sake of our mission. Driftwood, a 30-year-old Quarter horse, is giving his whole  heart to the students and clients. Driftwood is a Blue Roan, Quarter horse gelding who was donated to Rawhide by a generous and loving donor who wanted to see her horse benefit others. Driftwood was donated about four years ago. He is a retired show and trail horse who is known for being steady, independent, and reliable.

When Driftwood was younger he participated in an Indian Wedding. In an Indian Wedding, the groom is supposed to ride on horseback to the waiting bride and family. Driftwood was hauled to College Avenue in Appleton, where he met the awaiting groom. The groom then rode Driftwood downtown College Avenue, to the wedding destination and his bride. Lisa our Animal Care Specialist knows the past owner of Driftwood personally and has known Driftwood since he was little. “My friend would take Driftwood on trail rides, and they would leave thirty minutes earlier than everyone else. By the time they finished they would be thirty minutes behind everyone else.”

Driftwood’s main job during the REAP sessions is demanding respect. He is the type of horse that you have to respect “he doesn’t like to be treated badly, and when you don’t treat him with respect, he will let you know,” stated Lisa. This is a really good lesson for the client to learn that even a horse demands respect. The client must learn boundaries and to be careful of how they treat him which in turn helps the client learn boundaries in life and how to treat other people.

Driftwood is a very intimidating horse because of his large size. He is 1,300 pounds and stands about 15.3 hands tall or 61 inches at the tallest part of his back which does not include his head, but at heart he is a gentle giant. Driftwood is a steady old guy with a big heart for helping clients who are struggling in life. He teaches clients in equine therapy program life lessons and gives them love. What more could you want from an amazing horse?

To help all of those who use our REAP program, please consider making a donation today.
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