When a child and a horse come together it is a beautiful thing.
When Vicky Baum and her husband Denny bought their property in 2005, one of her first thoughts were, “this place needs to be shared.” Several years and many, many hours of personal and volunteer labor later Victory Ranch was born. The mission of Victory Ranch is to provide a nurturing environment to inspire hope and creativity leading to a future of empowerment for youth and their families through the gift of horses and natural beauty. “When a child and a horse come together it is a beautiful thing,” says Vicki. “A horse can feel a small fly land and are intuitive in picking up on the emotions of humans.” Participants at the ranch can be low income, challenged socially, or experience family dysfunction or loss through abandonment, death, neglect or incarceration. All of these life circumstances leave children and youth with the struggles that accompany grief and loss. Helping them to learn to deal with this is critical to their healing. One of the main goals of Victory Ranch is to offer a place where participants can learn critical thinking and processing skills through hands-on activities. In addition to the activities involving horses, others held this past year focused on leadership, gardening and building and manufacturing principals. Baum believes that her involvement with Victory Ranch has taught her many important lessons. “Sometimes the most critical thing a child wants is just to be seen and heard,” she says. “Here we can create an environment that is peaceful, safe and fun and will allow those conversations to happen and the healing to begin.”
For more information about how to volunteer or participate in one of the Victory Ranch programs visit www.victoryranchiowa.org or the Victory Ranch Facebook page.