Soul Harbor Ranch Programs
The SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club has started our 3rd year as an official club at Barrington High School. Thank you to Dr. Heath McFaul for being our club sponsor.
MEETING DAYS/TIMES: Thursdays after School
WHO CAN JOIN: All BHS students are welcome! (CLICK HERE to see current Club students)
1st Thursday of the month: 4-5pm at a Barrington community location TBD (ie. The Garlands, Journeycare, Alden Estates of Barrington, Sunrise of Barrington) *due to Covid, visits TBD; otherwise, training will occur at SOUL Harbour Ranch
2nd and 4th Thursday of the month: 3:30-5pm at BHS (therapy dogs) near The Commons *students should meet SOUL Harbour Ranch volunteers and therapy animals in the Main Street parking lot after school, then enter the lower level Main Street entrance
3rd Thursday of the month: 3:45-5pm at SOUL Harbour Ranch, 22093 N. Countryside Lane, Barrington IL.
The SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program teams with Barrington High School for the SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club. The Club allows teens from Barrington High School to take part in fulfilling the mission of enriching lives by promoting the unconditional love and healing of the human-animal bond.
BHS students are teamed with mentors and animals from the SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program. Students learn how to become animal handlers for animal-assisted activities and therapy work. We believe whole-heartedly that involvement with our special animals and each other assists in the students’ futures as leaders in our community.
The Teen Program has the following goals:
Preparing teens for future animal-handling and leadership roles within their school, community and future professional opportunities.
Instilling a sense of pride and ownership through volunteering with our animal-assisted therapy program as well as collaboration, responsibility and teamwork.
Creating a sense of motivation to succeed while teaching the importance of personal drive and determination for a successful future through working with specially-trained therapy animals.
Teaching invaluable skills that are necessary for today’s workforce such as interpersonal skills, the importance of rules and regulations, personal responsibility, respect for others, customer service and a sense of pride in one’s work.
Fostering animal stewardship by demonstrating the highest quality treatment and respect toward all animals.
To enrich teens’ lives by promoting the unconditional love and healing of the human-animal bond.
To provide opportunities for teens to grow as future leaders by training and working with our volunteers throughout the year.
We host weekly training and/or visit sessions every Thursday after school (see schedule above). Training and visits will vary for location, including locations at Barrington High School, SOUL Harbour Ranch in Barrington and local community locations such as The Garlands, Sunrise of Barrington, Journeycare, Barrington Youth & Family Services, and others TBD.
Interested volunteers are required to commit to a minimum of two days per month during the school year. Also, within the first 6 months of working with our animals, students must complete the Pet Partners Handler course (www.petpartners.org), with plans to become test and become a registered therapy animal handler. We realize the busy schedules teens carry during their high school years and we do allow for flexibility while enforcing the required commitment. (We do run all summer long so students are encouraged to continue training during the summer!)
Teens must be willing to commit to one-semester minimum.
The SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club allows students to earn community service hours (*once they have completed the full semester commitment) that meet school requirements while learning how to professionally interact with volunteers and those we visit.
Students are welcome to join the SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program at visits and training if they would like to further the involvement.
Interested in joining our SOUL team? Please send us an email with your name, address, phone number and why you would like to be a part of the SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club. Then join us on Thursdays after school in the hallways next to the Commons Area for some SOUL time with our special animals: “Sharing of Unconditional Love.”
Please contact Jodie Diegel at 855-408-SOUL (7685) if you have additional questions or email SOULBuddiesanimaltherapyclub@gmail.com
Facebook: SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club
Instagram: SOUL Buddies Club
We are excited to have launched the “SOUL Veterans Animal Therapy Troops.” This new and impactful program for veterans and active military families kicked off on September 27th, 2020 as we welcomed our very special guest (and our SOUL volunteer!) United States Air Force pilot, Lt. Colonel Gina Stramaglio.
The program meets monthly on the last weekend of every month, dubbed “Veterans Weekend at the Ranch.” #soulveterans
The SOUL Veterans program includes the following:
Monthly Saturday visits to Chicagoland’s Jesse Brown VA Hospital by our SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program registered therapy teams (registered therapy dogs and registered miniature therapy horses). Visits will be held on the last Saturday of the month. Until further notice, hospital visits have been postponed due to COVID-19 #soulveteranssaturday
Monthly Sunday visits for veterans to visit SOUL Harbour Ranch. On the last Sunday of every month, Barrington area veterans are be invited to visit with our registered therapy animals from 10:30am-12pm for some “SOUL” time: “Sharing Of Unconditional Love.” We will host guest speakers from the 5 branches of the Armed Forces to share their experiences with our audience. Please email us if you would like to be considered as a guest speaker firstname.lastname@example.org
Taped Virtual Visits of SOUL Harbour Ranch with Guest Speaker presentation: we will tape a short virtual visit which will include a guest singer(s) singing the national anthem, the presentation by our honored guest speaker, and a meet and greet with the therapy animals of SOUL Harbour Ranch, which will be posted to our website and on SOUL Harbour Ranch social media.
We welcome veterans to be mentored by us, visit with us, and become registered therapy handlers with us, while learning more about the many benefits animal-assisted therapy (smiles, joy, love and laughter = healing).
In preparation for on-site visits to our barn, we have made MANY improvements. The barn allows handicap-accessibility and meets ADA compliance standards with our bathroom. We have a welcoming area with a seating area and tables, both inside and outside. We have a refrigerator and counters for eating lunch inside the barn. Additional foundation work has been done on the driveway and on the side of the barn to allow for handicapped parking. Plus, we have a fire pit outside! Our monthly onsite program is handicapped-accessible, comfortable and convenient, as well as safe.
We love that we already have a relationship with our community and Chicago-area veterans. We visited the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in January 2020 as a preview visit. We checked out the large activity room and photos for marketing opportunities.
The SOUL Veterans Therapy Animal Troops are comprised of 35 registered handlers, additional volunteers in training, and a total of 85 registered therapy teams. We have the most experienced and competent handlers in the Barrington area’s most comprehensive animal therapy program!
Our therapy teams are registered through the pioneer of Animal-Assisted Interventions and the national “gold standard” for animal therapy, Pet Partners. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) partnered with non-profit organization Pet Partners in October, 2019 to help improve quality of life, social engagement and health of Veterans, by increasing access to animal-assisted activities (AAA) and animal-assisted therapy (AAT) services throughout the VA health care system. All of the SOUL Veterans Animal Therapy Troops registered handlers will be required to take the online Pet Partners course, “Volunteering with Veterans.” The level of competency of our animal teams, with testing and registration through Pet Partners, is the pinnacle of standards of excellence, and ensure safety, competency and compliance with infection control (always a key issue when visiting hospitals).
Since Barrington has portions of our community in 4 counties, we welcome Cook, Lake, McHenry and Kane County Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, Veterans and their military families for visits. PLEASE SHARE OUR PROGRAM INFORMATION through social media to ensure that more area veterans will be made aware of our program. If you know military personnel, both active and veteran status, please tell them about the SOUL Veterans Animal Therapy Troops!
Through AAA and AAT visits, we hope to lessen the symptoms of those who might suffer from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can follow war trauma. Research has demonstrated that for PTSD, (1) AAT can be dramatically effective in improving PTSD symptoms; (2) there is the potential for benefit from AAT by multiple different animals besides canines for PTSD (miniature horses and donkeys included!); and (3) AAT may have a role in preventing suicide in patients with PTSD.
We know very well the many benefits of animal-assisted therapy, which include people feeling greater happiness, being more communicative, being more engaged, and smiling more than usual. Those are such healing benefits for everyone who shares the unconditional love that radiates from each SOUL to SOUL connection.
This is our hope for our SOUL Veterans Animal Therapy Troops program: to bring smiles, joy, healing, laughter and a lot of SOUL (Sharing of Unconditional Love).
The SOUL Scouts Animal Therapy Troops program provides animal-assisted therapy and activity visits to Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops at SOUL Harbour Ranch with miniature therapy horses, miniature donkeys and therapy dogs. This program is for troops of all ages through age 18, geared towards troops earning their pet and animal badges. Objectives for each badge will be covered during the visit.
The visit includes a 60-minute session at SOUL Harbour Ranch (Barrington, IL). Knowledge about therapy animals, including the care of our therapy animals, is discussed during this session. Our registered volunteer animal handlers will assist the Scouts with putting on leashes and halters, as well as grooming, walking and connecting with our special therapy animals.
Troop leaders are encouraged to call us for availability 855-408-SOUL (7685).
GIRL SCOUT LEVELS
Daisies. Grades K–1.
Brownies. Grades 2–3.
Juniors. Grades 4–5.
Cadettes. Grades 6–8 (Animal Helper Badge)
Seniors. Grades 9–10.
Ambassadors. Grades 11–12
EXAMPLES OF TOPICS DISCUSSED (credit: Girl Scouts of America)
Animals have always provided humans with food,
clothing, and transportation, but today they’re also
trained to help people with disabilities, find people who are
lost, and even discover tumors. And, of course, animals offer
us companionship, love, and sheer joy.In this badge, look at
how animals help humans. (Researchers say the love of an
animal can improve our emotional health!)
1. Explore the connection between humans and animals
2. Find out how animals help keep people safe
3. Know how animals help people emotionally
4. Check out how animals help people with disabilities
5. Look at how animals might help us in the future
When you have earned this badge, you will know how animals help
humans, and how to help them keep it up.
The SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program is the Barrington area’s most experienced and comprehensive animal therapy program. Our registered therapy animals have been visiting since 2010. Our mission is to enrich lives by promoting the unconditional love and healing of the human-animal bond while advocating for animal therapy standards of excellence. Our teams are registered through the “gold standard” of animal therapy “Pet Partners,” the pioneer of animal-assisted therapy.
Our premier SOUL 2 SOUL program is all about registered therapy animal teams visiting and sharing their unconditional love with those in need at hospitals (Rush, Loyola), nursing homes and retirement communities (The Garlands, Sunrise, Alden Estates, St. Joseph Home), senior programs (BACOA), at-risk youth (CAAEL, Maryville Jen School, Felicity School, Academy at Forest View), elementary and junior high schools (District 220 and more), libraries (Barrington, Ela, Crystal Lake, Palatine, veteran facilities (Jesse Brown VA), programs for the disabled (Marklund, NISRA, NWSRA, GiGi’s Playhouse), hospice (Journeycare) and SO many more.
We are very active in our hometown of Barrington. We partner with the Barrington Police Department for our SOUL K.I.D.S program. We mentor the SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club at Barrington High School. We help SOUL Scouts obtain their animal helper badges. Our monthly “Walk with Me” (a Pet Partners exercise initiative is held at the Arboretum of South Barrington and the Deer Park Town Center.)
We even have a new book about our herd called “What About Me: Mystery finds her SOUL,” written by our volunteers Vicki Coleman and Lynn Greifer. Watch for library visits and book signings (hoof-o-graphs!) in the summer of 2021!
Check out our Facebook page for more information about upcoming EVENTS. We are EVERYWHERE!
Our visits are made possible through the selfless passion of our all-volunteer organization and the generosity of donors who support the sharing of our animals’ unconditional love and healing.
SOUL K.I.D.S. is a program in partnership with the Barrington Police Department, teaching messages of Kindness, Inclusion, Diversity and Service to District 220 School District schools. Visits to the Barrington-area schools will include our animal-assisted therapy dogs, mini therapy horses and our therapy cat teams.
SOUL K.I.D.S. highlights 2 of our current programs:
Just Say WHOA to Bullying: we are proud to be a part of this international program, which shares the message of WHOA (We Help One Another) through our friend Amos the Wonder Horse and animal friends from around the world.
SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club: we love mentoring Barrington High School students as they work with our special therapy animals (and their animals!) to become registered therapy teams. This weekly service club meets at BHS and at SOUL Harbour Ranch, and once a month the students provide an animal-assisted therapy visit within our Barrington community.
We are thrilled to partner with the Barrington Police Department as we make this program happen. Even more exciting is that Barrington Police Officer Rita Kelley is one of our registered volunteer animal handlers!
An accompanying video will be produced by Barrington’s own award-winning World Touch Productions (Thomas and Wade Balsamo), made possible by a 2021 grant from the Barrington Area Community Foundation.
Our hope is that we impact every student in the Barrington 220 School District with messages of Kindness, Inclusion, Diversity, Service and WHOA.
District 220 School District staff are invited to call us for more information as we start scheduling visits in the Fall of 2021 at 855-408-SOUL (7685).
Just Say Whoa® to Bullying is a nationally-recognized bullying prevention program that helps children AND adults to recognize and respect the differences in one another by partnering with therapy animals. Our friend Amos the Wonder Horse and his friends around the world are dedicated to making this world a better place as we WHOA: We Help One Another.
The very foundation of the program is predicated on character education. Teaching bullying prevention is just a piece of this program, which also includes teaching kindness, empathy, compassion, creativity, and integrity.
The “Just Say WHOA to Bullying” program is one of the programs included in our new in 2021 “SOUL K.I.D.S.” program, a partnership with the Barrington Police for children in District 220 promoting Kindness, Inclusion, Diversity and Service (promoting the “SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club” that we mentor at Barrington High School.
JUST SAY WHOA® TO BULLYING
Our program takes a unique approach to teaching bullying prevention by helping children to recognize and respect the differences in one another. By understanding that everyone has something valuable to offer, children learn acceptance, tolerance, respect, and understanding of others.
By instilling these core values and encouraging good character, Just Say Whoa®to Bullying builds a foundation of understanding and promotes a positive social environment, which – in turn – fosters kindness and good citizenship.
In addition, this innovative program is the first of its kind to teach bullying prevention using animal-assisted activities with miniature therapy horses. While often used to help teach children with learning disabilities, truancy, and behavioral issues, animal-assisted activities can also used with mainstream children to capture their attention, teach to the moment, and reinforce what they learn. Best of all, it’s been proven that animal-assisted activities provide children with retention of curriculum.
WALK WITH ME™
Did you know that people who walk with an animal are more likely to meet physical activity recommendations? That is why Pet Partners, the nation’s premiere national therapy organization, created Walk With Me™, a new special initiative about walking for better health. Barrington area residents and nearby community friends are encouraged to come walk with the Soul Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program’s sneaker-wearing registered Pet Partners mini therapy horses!
READ WITH ME™
The “Read With Me™ library program is dedicated to improving literacy and involves reading to children with therapy animals present. The “Read With Me™ program (through Pet Partners) allows children to read to therapy animals in a nonjudgmental environment.
Even more exciting is that we now have a new book about the SOUL herd called “What About Me: Mystery finds her Soul.”