This month, I've had the incredible opportunity to work with children with special needs at work. And through my interactions with these exceptional kids, I quickly learned that this quote rings true:
"Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge, and children with special needs inspire a very special love." - S. Palin
Each child I work with inspires various emotions. These kids all have their own unique personalities and methods of expression. But the one theme I've noticed is the love these great kids give and teach their families and caregivers. I leave each interaction with a fuller heart because of these kids. Children with special needs require a certain environment to function and learn. Unfortunately, there aren't enough places with environments appropriate for their needs.
I've also seen children who are victims of abuse and bullying over the past few years. My heart breaks for these kids. The reality of abuse is that it leaves a mark that will never go away. Often when children have a history of abuse, they become abusers.
So, what can we do for both these kids with special needs and these at-risk kids?
The Gentle Barn is an amazing organization that provides a safe environment for these children to learn through animal therapy. At the Gentle Barn, they rescue animals with a history of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. The animals are given treatment and a loving place to heal.
In turn, the animals help the children with special needs by providing unconditional love, kindness and no judgment. The kids are able to explore freely in their own ways and learn how to care for others by interacting with the animals.
For the at-risk children, these animals share a similar story. They help the kids see that healing is possible. In the safe environment of The Gentle Barn, the kids are able to open up about their pasts. By interacting with the animals, the kids learn how to love themselves and love others.
Wonderful, right? Now, how can we help?
This week, Sevenly is raising awareness and funds for The Gentle Barn with the cutest T-shirt designs! Typically, with each Sevenly purchase, $7 is donated to the cause of the week. But this week, your donation will be matched! So $14 will be donated to support the mission of The Gentle Barn! I mean, how awesome are these T-shirt designs for the whole family?
Photography: Jackie Accornero
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