We have provided a $6,000 Emergency Community Support Fund grant to the Society of Semiahmoo Animal League (Kindred Farm) to assist their Healing with Healers program. This program is specifically for healthcare workers to remediate the traumatic effects of working through the COVID-19 health crisis. The goals for the Healing with Healers program are for participants to have an opportunity to talk about their experiences within a safe space, encourage the expression and processing of difficult emotions stemming from the crisis, learn skills for managing post-traumatic stress reactions, and feel a sense of community and connection.
Semiahmoo Animal League (Kindred Farm) is a community farm for all members of the community to partake in. It is also a leading non-profit in BC that utilizes Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) and Horticultural Therapy Activities (HTA) to affect positive change in the communities. Kindred Farm is a humane and compassionate environment where people, animals and nature come together to improve the emotional and physical well-being of all local community members. Since 2011, Kindred has developed healing programs for children, youth and adults. The healing programs at Kindred Farm include a farm sanctuary, which is a forever home for abused and neglected animals, a garden to nourish the body and soul, and a forest/natural habitat to teach members how to slow down, breathe deep and quiet the mind. The combination of these three ingredients has the power to heal trauma.
“The Healing with Healers program left a great impact on our past participants from the 8 summer sessions. Because of that, they have asked us to develop more programs for their medical teams as the need for therapy programs is continuous, especially during the pandemic.” said Keryn Denroche, Founder/Director of Kindred Community Farm Sanctuary. She added that “the personnel for this program is a registered clinical counsellor who has trained in equine-assisted mental health and wellness. These professionals, along with the animals and the natural environment will provide a safe, healing program specially designed for front-line healthcare workers.”
After their sessions in the summer, healthcare worker participants answered a questionnaire that included the following question, “What did you learn about your own self-care needs?”.
Some participants realized that they don't spend enough time caring for their own needs, or nurturing their body the way they should be.
Some also learned that nature and being in the presence of animals is very healing and a newfound piece of their self-care.
Participants also felt that after their farm sessions, they had a great awareness of ways they can practice better self care while being a care provider for others.
The animals at Kindred Farm all have their own stories of trauma and recovery. The client’s knowledge that they are caring for a rescued farm animal that has found their forever home is a powerful healing tool. It is especially beneficial if the therapy farm animal has a similar story to that of the client. When the animal's story resonates with the person, this accelerates the healing process.
This grant is made possible through the Government of Canada's $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares in its first round and now, over $575,000 in the second round.
Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares Community Foundation, explained, "The COVID-19 crisis has increased the need for emotional and psychological support for front-line healthcare workers. This program provides much-needed support to the health workers to manage the negative emotions stemming from the crisis. We are grateful to be able to support such an outstanding initiative that will make a big impact on front-line healthcare workers.
Individuals and businesses who wish to support Surrey charities are asked to give to the Surrey Community Relief Fund. In partnership with the Surrey Now-Leader, Surrey Board of Trade and The Saheli Foundation, the goal is to raise $500,000 to support the most vulnerable populations in Surrey.
If you would like to support Kindred Farm programs and their animals, donations are always needed. Kindred Farm is also looking for a larger farm space so that they can engage with more people in the community in the future. To learn more and support Kindred Farm, visit at https://www.kindredfarm.ca/.