What is the need and who will benefit?

Why community collaborators rely on Animals as Natural Therapy to help create a strong “Safety Net” for our area’s under-served children and youth.


Animals as Natural Therapy

Safety Net annually serves 400 youth between the ages of 3-18 from all over Washington State, with the majority from Whatcom and Skagit Counties. Many participants are being raised by grandparents, extended family, foster parents, or adoptive families because of unstable home lives due to mental disorders, addictions, and incarcerations and many struggle with dysfunctional and abusive relationships, unemployment, sporadic housing, and general survival.

Our participants are identified by referring community organizations, schools and families as needing alternative interventions as our equine-assisted learning sessions have proven to reach young people for whom other therapies have not. These community collaborators rely on ANT to help create a strong “Safety Net” for our area’s under-served children and youth. There is an ever-growing demand by community agencies for effective innovative therapies like those ANT offers, but they can offer very little if any funding. The referring agencies we work with are:

According to Washington Healthy Youth Survey & National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, over 30% of our 10th graders are using or have used drugs.

DSHS reports recent increases in Whatcom County for:

  • High school drop-out rates in 2014
  • Arrests for Property Crime in the 10-17 age group
  • Arrests for Violent Crime in the 10-17 age group
Sir and Tristan. Courtesy of ANT

Animals as Natural Therapy offers a Leadership and Bully Awareness workshop for middle school youth to address bullying. Statistics from the CDC, Bureau of Justice, and National Center for Education Statistics Institute of Education Sciences reported:

  • 28% of U.S. students in grades 6-12 experienced bullying
  • 71% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools
  • 16% of high school students were cyber-bullied in the past year

“160,000 kids per day do not attend school for fear of being bullied.” -U.S. Dept. of Justice

Our outcomes provide definitive proof that ANT’s unique programming successfully aids in preventing school drop outs; help youth avoid repeated incarcerations; circumvent gang and drug involvement; and/or prevent suicides.

We listen to local and state agencies and respond with our innovative approach and we are constantly making adjustments in curriculum offerings to stay current with the most critical need.

“Of all the early interventions available, school and community based programs were the “most promising” and demonstrated the highest level of success” (U.S. Department of Justice report 2014)

YOU can help too! Get involved in ANT events and fundraisers, such as our upcoming 11th Annual Bluegrass Bash, and Horsin’ Around Campaign. You can also donate, sponsor a horse or volunteer!


ANT kids quote


Join the conversation:

Select a list(s):

Leave a Comment