Our animals play a big role at A Taste of Paradise Farm.  They are often the bridge between a young person who may be experiencing complex trauma and their mentor.  When the animals greet the young people, they are excited to see them, they rush to the fence, and for a young person this may be their first experience of feeling loved or cared for.

Some of the young people who come to A Taste of Paradise Farm, don’t trust people anymore.  They don’t trust for very good reasons, as they have had their trust broken by adults that should have been trustworthy, and understandably the young people don’t want to be hurt again.

Initially this can make it hard to trust their mentor, as they see another adult who is only going to hurt them and let them down again.  They want to trust, but it is too hard. The animals offer these young people a way to begin to trust again. Slowly, over time, the young person begins to build a relationship with the animals, and as they do, they can begin to build trust with their mentor. They begin to see that their mentor, like the animals, is happy to see them, is patient with them, gives them time to adjust to how they are feeling and wants to spend time with them. This happens because the mentor is a part of this very positive experience in the young person’s life.

Once trust is developed, this provides opportunities to build a safe and reliable friendship with their mentor, which can give the young people hope for safe and reliable friendships with other people, away from the farm. Then they start to build skills and strengths from activities at the farm, skills like animal husbandry, gardening, and maintenance skills.  All of which gives them hope, and with hope comes opportunities to do new things, which in turn builds strength and resilience.