Take Flight Farms
“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence” -- Denis Waitley.
Back in 2001, an idea of Lisa Roskens to incorporate animals with helping others sparked the “Farm Project” and a series of pilot programs. The project, located in Omaha, developed and grew into incorporating horses with learning and therapeutic experiences, and Take Flight Farms was created. As of 2002, Take Flight Farms has been a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and has been guiding the development of self-esteem and coping skills through opportunities for relationship-building with horses.
Today, people from all ages and backgrounds whom are looking for some teambuilding skills or dealing with emotional, behavioral or mental health issues can participate in an array of programs incorporating horses, people and community. There are different services available, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), Equine Assisted Learning (EAL), and Equine Assisted Development (EAD). In 2009, Take Flight Farms served 245 clients, with the majority being youth between the ages of 9-12 and 16-19, according to the Take Flight website. Their clients come from a variety of community partners including schools, corporations, and private and public agencies.
A misconception about Take Flight some people may have is about riding horses. Assistant Director, Cindy Vaccaro, said, “You will not ride the horses at Take Flight. Rather, you will be encouraged to develop a working relationship on the ground, at equal footing with the horses.” This involves clients in hands-on activities with the horses and then discussing behavioral patterns and how they relate to everyday life. For example, “A teenage girl hoping to become more assertive and improve her communication of personal boundaries might be asked to move a group of horses from one end of the arena to the other without touching them. The Take Flight team would ask her what methods she used, how the horses responded, how she perceives her ability, and if the activity reminds her of any situations in life.”
EAL is learning through interacting in a group of people with the horses. An example might involve a group of students from an inner-city school working together to lead a horse through an obstacle course. The Take Flight team would focus the session on building decision-making and goal-setting skills. A detailed description of these services and more examples of the can be found on their website www.takeflightfarms.org.
Programs are tailor-made for clients, whether it is a teen struggling with anger issues, a group of people recovering from substance abuse, or an office trying to become more cohesive as a team. Programs can range from half-day or full-day sessions up to ongoing, consecutive weekly sessions. The results are amazing. Cindy said about the types of moments she gets to see, “We see people coming to all sorts of aha-moments in our arena. They discover their patterns of behavior, problem solving and communication, and the impact it has on those around them. They discover their own strengths and talents that they did not previously realize they had. They find areas of development that they want to focus on improving. They build self confidence, self efficacy and often they learn to take control of their own lives by choosing the solutions that are best for them.”
To learn more about Take Flight Farms and the services they offer, visit their website www.takeflightfarms.org or contact them at 402-930-3037.