• Bonnie Jean

"Whether you think you can or think you can't - you're right" - Henry Ford

Recently I received an email requesting more information about our program. She had viewed our website, but was still unsure of what we are all about. After corresponding with her, I wondered if maybe she isn’t the only one still unsure of what The Mustard Seed Ranch of Florida is all about. Maybe it is best to share with everyone some more information about what we are working towards.

In my profession I meet youth every day that are struggling with behaviors that are harmful to themselves, harmful to others, or both. After getting to know them, it is easy to see that almost all who are struggling with these behaviors have experienced some unhealthy circumstances that have brought them to these behaviors. Usually multiple circumstances that they themselves did not create or ask for. These children are more often than not simply doing their best to work with what they were given. I am not excusing the unhealthy behaviors, but I do believe it is very important to understand what the behaviors are stemming from. It is proven that childhood trauma and adversity affects the way a child's brain is developing and changes their ability to make healthy choices.

My training has revealed the significant impact that being exposed to or raised in trauma and adversity has on a child. Not only is there a learned pattern that occurs, but there is a physiological reason for them to make unhealthy decisions and eventually perpetuate the cycle that they have been born into. During the brains development stages, if a child experiences high amounts of trauma, rejection, fear, loss, abandonment, etc., these events actually change the way the brain develops. It takes one action in one moment to break a leg or tear a ligament, but the physical healing process for that one moment takes weeks and sometimes months of intentional treatment and therapy to properly repair and heal the physical damage that has occurred. Our brains and in turn our emotions are no different. They require that same time and intentional care.

We have created an after school and Saturday program that does not simply focus on behavioral modification, but works to address where the behaviors are coming from in order to help the youth find healing. Through project based mentoring, animal interactions, team building exercises, brain basic curriculum and an actions speak louder than words environment we hope to help the youth to lead healthier lives.

The program's goal, in most cases is to help break the cycle that the youth have been born into. In the big picture our hope is to eventually be able to incorporate the entire family into the program. In an effort to be able to provide the program to the youth with the greatest need, the goal is for this to be a completely community supported and community funded program. At the moment we are still in needing to be able to provide our participants transportation to and from the program, insurance, and purchase the NeuroLogic Curriculum we wish to use to be able to get the program up and running.

We believe, just like every seed has the potential to grow, every heart holds potential that is waiting to be unlocked. I hope this helps to better explain our efforts. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to become a part of The Mustard Seed Ranch of Florida mission.

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