Contact us to book a tour or to sponsor an at-risk group tour.
Since children naturally identify with animals, we can use interactions with animals to teach children how to behave towards other people. Often when children are abused, they turn their hurt around to abuse others. By teaching empathy and uniting kids with all life, our At-Risk Youth program helps turn these kids from the inner city into protectors instead of abusers.
We believe that our animals are particularly helpful with these children. First, the animals at The Gentle Barn all have histories of abuse, neglect, abandonment or worse. Often the children share similar pasts, and hearing the stories of the animals helps them see that change is possible. Second, as they see that the animals are safe here with us, the children begin to open up, as they too feel safe. Finally, we believe that animals, with their unconditional love and non-judgmental attitude, can often reach kids more deeply and effectively than people can. As the children learn to love the animals, they simultaneously learn to love a part of themselves. As they learn to understand the animals, they learn to understand a part of themselves.
Identifying with the animals at The Gentle Barn helps the children feel safe. When we explore how our abused animals have learned to forgive and overcome their pasts, the animals become role models helping the children reach their goals of surpassing their pain and reaching for their bright futures.
"The instant connection with the animals that is made each and every time we bring our boys there is almost impossible to describe without using words like "extraordinary," and "uplifting." There is more to the connection than just curiosity on both the boy's and animals' parts. There is an understanding of what it means to have a second chance. Whether you happen to walk on 2 feet, 4 hooves, or merely just enjoy the sensation of watching as two completely different creatures, human and animal, learn something that books can't teach." - Pacific Lodge Boys' Home
Contact us to book a tour or to sponsor a special needs group tour.
We believe that animals can provide unconditional love, kindness, and a non-judgmental attitude to all. The animals at The Gentle Barn have so much love to give back, and we believe they are perfect for people with special needs.
The Gentle Barn environment is safe and quiet, giving your special needs group the freedom to be themselves, and the room to explore at their own pace. The animals teach forgiveness, love, trust, and a sense of responsibility, which means a lot to many special needs children.
No matter what kind of group you have, we would love to accommodate you!
"I teach a class of eleven students, eight of which are autistic and three of which have general developmental delays." - Special Education Teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District in a low-income neighborhood in Chinatown.
“The Gentle Barn gave my students the opportunity to let go of what usually keeps them locked up inside. You gave them the opportunity to show kindness to another living being. You gave them the opportunity to pet, brush, feed, and take care of another living being. For most of them, this was the first time they could do any of these things.”
Contact us to book a tour or to sponsor a educational group tour.
The Gentle Barn is an educational facility that teaches children about animals in a way that will change their perspective about themselves and the world around them. We want to show children that even though we all look different, we are all the same inside. Every living being has language and needs food, water, shelter and love.
We teach the children why roosters crow, why pigs love mud, why goats chew, and how each species communicates through body language. Here at The Gentle Barn, kids gain an understanding of animals, see how much we all have in common, and get to expand their empathy for all living beings.
After our presentation, the children get to visit the horses, brush the cows, give the pigs tummy rubs, talk to the turkeys, play with the goats and the sheep, and so much more. It is an educational, hands-on experience that they will never forget. Our program is appropriate for kids K-12.
“Children trained to extend justice, kindness and mercy to animals, become more kind, just and considerate in their relations to each other. Character training along these lines will result in men and women of broader sympathies; more humane, more law abiding, in every aspect, more valuable citizens.” - National PTA Congress
"The hours we spent at The Gentle Barn were some of the most "teachable moments" I've come across in my 17 years as an educator. The children learned about the animals, of course, but they also learned a great deal about themselves, and were challenged to think in a new and different light than before." - Sierra Canyon Middle School
"As an educator, I strongly believe in what The Gentle Barn is doing. They are providing our community with a hands-on experience that is not only thought provoking but stimulates social and emotional growth as well. It teaches them first hand how to be empathetic and compassionate. The Gentle Barn is as valuable a place for the children who visit as it is for the animals who receive the attention there." - Westmark School