|Ranch Good Days|
Ranch Good Days opens a Charter School in the Rosebud-Lott School District of Central Texas!
The school will serve teen girls interested in a high school degree with particular interest in one of the following three areas - Health Care, Small Business Ownership and Agriculture. All graduating students will be enrollable for college. For more information and be put on an enrollment list, please call 254-984-2400.
STAR Equine Assisted Therapy on Channel 10 News!!!
(Photo by Kristin Gordon)
TEMPLE (June 23, 2013) -- It all started in 2003 at a town hall meeting in Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Donna Otabachian decided to start Ranch Good Days.
It is a non-profit organization which treats girls with post traumatic stress disorder or some type of trauma, through equine therapy.
The headquarters has since moved to Temple, Texas.
"They were bad things that happen to good kids syndrome," said Otabachian. "Where worried about kids that just need that extra support when they hit the age where trauma sets in.
We see kids with anger disorders and children that at the point when they get here, don't want to talk to adults. They just shut down. Or, they are ready to just check out all together. That's why I don't give up."
Ashley Jones had her second therapy session and felt good about the outcome. She and two other girls had to join arms for a session where they would saddle up a horse.
Ashley, who was in the middle, had to keep her hands in her pockets and tell the other two girls what to do without using her hands. The other two girls could not use one of their hands too.
It was to teach about trust and good communication. If any of the girls messed up during the session, they agreed jumping jacks would be a good punishment.
"they (horses) have taught me how to be calm," said Jones. "When I started being with horses I was a little scared. But now I am really loving horses."
Jones said her mother found the ranch on the Internet and decided to try it out. On the first day, Jones picked out a horse called "AJ," because his name were the same as the initials of her name.
"They are loving," said Jones. "They are just like humans. They tell how they feel by expressions like ears and what they do. They are really nice and funny."
During and after the session, equine therapist, Rhonda Lierman, asked Ashley questions. "She opened up and shared some things with me that she hadn't shared with other people," said Lierman.
"That's what I love about equine therapy. The horses are real. If they are afraid, they are going to show it. If they are hurt, they are going to show it." According to Lierman, horses are a herd animal and very social.
They like to be around others just like humans. They are prey animals and are hypervigilant of their surroundings. This makes them very aware and in tune with their environment.
"Whatever we are carrying with us, a horse is going to bring an emotion," said Lierman. "Whether you are excited or afraid, a horse will pick up on that energy. So they are very in tune with that person coming in.
Especially with kids and adolescents, the ones that have been through trauma. All of us have had those broken places in our lives anyway." Lierman's youngest son died from diabetes in 2007.
Three years ago she lost her husband. She said she has always turned to horses for therapy. "Growing up, my horses were my therapy. That's where I went to for my comfort just like Ashley."
Lierman was certified through Equine Assisted Growth and Learning. She said this is her passion, working with at risk youth. "We all should have a session with a horse. It will typically bring out a lot.
Even the first time I volunteered to be certified, it was amazing. It's like you nailed me. You nailed me."
But she always wonders if she could have done more. "It's amazing how it happens and usually its on its own and in its own time, God's time. But it happens and these kids are joyful, productive young adults."
Otabachian said she has been granted a charter school and hopes to have classes ready to start when school kicks back up again.
"The traumas that we are working with these young girls pretty much happened in their early child hood and now are coming out at the age of 13 or 14.
To keep them from getting into more trouble and avoid the risk of bad behaviors, we bring them here and we open their eyes."
Certified Horse Assisted Activities and Therapy with Trauma Informed Care
Ranch Good Days is a 501 c 3 non profit organization headquartered in Texas. The non profit charity was formed to support equine assisted therapy for those victims suffering trauma from events such as a sexual abuse, violence and grief, death, and dying events. The STAR Healing with Horses Group Sessions and Retreat program is a day treatment program is made up of eight donated, rescued, and home-bred horses. STAR is available at different locations in Central Texas area.
Ranch Good Days recognizes the positive effects horses have on teen girls and young women, especially those over-coming attachment - trust issues with adult people. Young women suffering from traumatic emotional disabilities are of particular interest to yje focus at Ranch Good Days. Thus we have designed the Texas Girls Ranch Academy Boarding School. This community-based, volunteer-led project is a school model offering 100% support for young women to complete their secondary education and successfully transition into a college or career. Located minutes from a nearby Children's Hospital and within an hour of three major Universities - Texas A&M, Baylor, and UMHB, the students health and therapeutic needs are cared for by individual physicians, therapists, and healthcare providers from those prospective campuses. Funding is being sought for staff, equipment, training and operations.
Donna M. Otabachian, Ph.D., is certified in equine assisted therapy, is a certified teacher, principal and school business official, but has forgone those positions to see the Texas Girls Ranch Academy of twenty beds built for future students. Land and an architect have been found. Dr Donna has helped over 50 teen girls with her horses at the girls ranch to build trust and confidence in life amongst nature and agriculture. Such confidence spills over into the youngster's academics and learning to build relationships. Dr Donna attributes her dedication to this Christ-based mission as a calling from Our Lord to a severely under served demographic - Teen girls with trauma-attachment disabilities.
Named 2012 - 2013 Outstanding VIP by Cambridge Who's Who International!
2013 Chair of Caring for America - Central Texas Republican Women PAC