Nourishing Hearts

Youth Farm Care Group

Ages: 8-17

A mixed age approach is utilized to help disrupt same age peer cliques that could result in some children being excluded from peer acceptance. Mixed age interactions promote reciprocal relations of giving & receiving where older youth have the opportunity to move into the role of a helper with the younger youth. This dynamic can help build self-confidence and esteem while also disrupting negative peer pressures.

Supported Youth Needs:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Low Self-Esteem or Confidence
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma

Animal Assisted Physical Activities

  • Exercising animals
  • Animal grooming and feeding
  • Animal training and socializing
  • Barn chores

​Therapeutic Farming/Gardening

  • Vegetable and sensory gardening
  • Seed propagation
  • Greenhouse maintenance
  • Planting and pruning
  • Weeding and mulching
  • Watering and fertilizing
  • Composting and compost maintenance
  • Pest control

Program Schedule:

6:00  Arrival and Animal Greeting
6:10  Group Check in and Animal Assisted Mindfulness
6:20  Wildlife Conservation/ Therapeutic Farming/Gardening
7:00  Animal Assisted Physical Activities
7:30 Departure

Funding Coverage for Children

Recreation Funding

Canadian Tire Jumpstart

Community-based charity that helps children in financial need participate in organized sports and recreational activities. 

  • Children between the ages of 4-18 years to a maximum of $300 per child.
  • A financial assessment including details about the desired choice of activity, may also be required.
  • Application needs to be made before the fees are due, as the money goes right to the organization
  • Funds can also be provided for adaptive equipment to help kids with special needs participate in recreation activity

Tax Deductions

Children’s Arts Tax Credit

Children with disabilities (who are eligible for the disability tax credit) and is under 18 years of age at the beginning of the year
Can claim a total of $1,000 if a minimum of $100 is paid for registration or membership fees for a prescribed artistic program

Children’s Fitness Tax Credit

Children with disabilities (who receive the Disability Tax Credit) age 18 and under are eligible for a total of up to a $1000 Fitness Tax Credit Claim each year for participation in (qualifying) recreation programs that promote health and fitness.

Wildlife Conservation

  • Monarch tagging
  • Wetland monitoring for invasive species
  • Tree planting
  • Species monitoring
  • Bird, bat, bug, bee and butterfly house construction, installation, monitoring and maintenence
  • Trail maintenance

Edible Woodland Forest

  • Lasagna gardening (establishing new guild beds)
  • Guild and tree planting
  • Weeding and mulching
  • Watering and fertilizing
  • Pest control
  • Trail maintenance

“The care of the land and animals with the care of children & youth”

The Farm Care Youth Group is a weekly mixed age, inclusive recreational program facilitated by therapists that teach mental health coping skills in the moment when needed to create a comfortable, safe and positive engagement for youth, to ensure successful ongoing participation. The program combines the care of animals, wildlife conservation and therapeutic farming/gardening to nourish the hearts of youth while encouraging physical activity and teaching the skills to help youth care for themselves and others. The nature based recreational activities provide excellent physical activity, assist in meeting the diverse interests of youth while also providing a supportive and nurturing environment for youth’s physical, social, mental and emotional needs. The diverse activities provides flexibility to assist with weather fluctuations and seasonal challenges, as this group will run year round. There are both indoor and outdoor components per class. The group will run for 12 week block intervals. 

To learn more about the purpose and benefits of this specialized program, please read our Advocacy Letter.

Group Size: 5-8
The group size is no larger than a 1:5 or 2:8 therapist to youth ratio in order to provide the individualized mental health and social support necessary for positive engagement. 

Group Facilitator(s): Social Worker(s)
Program Cost: $300 per program
Program Length: 12 weeks
Program Dates: TBD

Julie Casey MSW, RSW

Wellness Care Farm