A Message From Our Directors
In these times of gangs, drugs, crime, violence and war, it is essential that we make efforts to ensure a more peaceful future for our children. We feel it is imperative that we teach our children kindness, compassion and empathy for all living beings. When a child meets another, looking different than themselves, with perhaps a different religion, race, sex, or language, if that child knows that we are all the same on the inside, then perhaps that child will accept the other and we will be closer to having peace on earth.
At The Gentle Barn, we work with children from the inner-city, group homes, mental health care facilities, foster homes, and schools to teach them that even though we are all different on the outside, on the inside we are all the same and are deserving of the same rights, respects and freedom. We can’t do this work without you and are grateful for your support. Enjoy the website and check back with us from time to time to see what's new. The best way to help is by making a donation, sponsoring an animal or sponsoring a group of school kids, at-risk kids or special-needs kids to come to The Gentle Barn. Thank you so much for your support!
Respectfully, Ellie & Jay
A Brief History
Ellie Laks founded The Gentle Barn in Tarzana in 1999; it was a dream of hers since she was 7 years old. Animals were always very healing and nurturing to her as she faced the challenges of growing up, finding herself, fitting in, feeling understood, etc. She majored in special education and psychology, and with her special love of animals and children, The Gentle Barn was a perfect way of putting all her talents and passions into one.
Jay Weiner joined The Gentle Barn in 2002 as a volunteer, but fell in love with the place and the two joined forces to heal even more children and animals. Like Ellie, Jay also turned to animals for the support, love and nurturing he needed as a child.
The Gentle Barn started on a half-acre property in the middle of the San Fernando Valley, CA. In 2003 The Gentle Barn moved to a six-acre paradise in Santa Clarita, CA. The property is complete with large horse and cow pastures, a red and white barnyard for the smaller animals, an organic vegetable garden, lots of shade trees, and a panoramic view of gorgeous mountains. Our over 160 rescued animals are safe and happy at The Gentle Barn, and there is plenty of room to welcome our visitors and the children we host.
The ultimate goal is to open Gentle Barn's across the country so that every animal and child can have a place of healing and safety and where they can be seen for the perfect beings that they are. Since its inception, The Gentle Barn has been home to hundreds of animals and host to over 100,000 people.
A Success Story
Once in a while we get the chance to support a person in more ways than our animal program. We are always excited to help generate or provide opportunity to those who might not otherwise get it.
We recently had the chance to do this for a boy who came to us monthly with a boy's home. We had learned that he was due to graduate from the program and had been doing very well. The next time that he came to us, we asked him what his plans were after his graduation from the boy's home. He said that his life dream was to be a firefighter helicopter pilot. He further explained that he had never been up in a helicopter before, so although he wanted to do this as a career, he had never experienced it before.
Little did he know that Jay knew someone that owned a helicopter pilot training school. After getting through all of the red tape he was up in a helicopter for the first time...YES! After he landed he said, "Now I know for sure what I want to do for the rest of my life. I can't wait to get out of the home and get things going." We told him that if he wanted to contact us after he graduated, we would support him by helping him put together a grant application to get the money for him to pay for the $15,000 it takes to get through training.
What a success story! And if he is reading this, we have faith in you, and know that you can do it!!!
PS We saw him grow in front of our eyes in the time that he came to The Gentle Barn. He also developed a love for our horse Caesar the first day he came.