Southeast Mo. farm launches mentorship program for children in foster care

A family farm in Matthews, Missouri launches a community mentorship program for children in foster care.
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 12:28 PM CDT
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MATTHEWS, Mo. (KFVS) - A family farm in southeast Missouri launched a community mentorship program for children in foster care.

“A lot of these kids don’t feel they’re worthy or they’re being thrown out like they’re trash.”

Jennifer Layton is using horses to change that mindset for some of these kids. She launched Stable Moments, a program designed for children in foster care who’ve experienced trauma caused by abuse, neglect or abandonment.

“So what we do is a series of activities with a mentor and that child, so it takes one horse, one mentor and then one hour a week with that child,” she said. “It helps to develop the skills that help them.”

Layton said the program will provide therapeutic activities for the foster kids, including interaction with the horses.

“They’ll be doing a series of activities with mentors, so whether it be myself or other volunteers,” she said. “They will walk horses, they will groom horses, they will do soccer, archery.”

Kelly Vandiver is a foster parent to her grandson. She said this program will provide extra support for Joshua.

“He has some sensitivity issues some emotions, anger, different things that were not being addressed very well and him coming out here has just made in a short time such a huge progress,” she said.

Vandiver said the horses have already made a huge impact in her grandson’s life.

“Being his grandmother and not being able to do all of the physical things that I would like to do; this has been a Godsend for him,” she continued.

Layton said she hopes this program will make a difference.

“I’m hoping that if I’m there during this developmental trauma area even when they’re going to school, even if they’re beyond that area, until they’re 21 in the foster care programs that they have to be in, that we can minimize that trauma so when they grow older and even in adulthood and childhood, they can be confident they know that they’re worthy,” she said.

The Stable Moments program starts August 29 and will run until May 2023.

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