By Nora Mounce
As we head into the holidays, most of us are even busier than usual, planning big meals, squeezing in shopping trips after work, and baking sugar cookies. But here at Wilds Souls Ranch – and in many homes across Humboldt County – the holidays aren’t about the hustle and bustle but can be painful reminders of trauma and loss. For many at-risk youth who are clients at Wild Souls, the holiday season exacerbates the stigma of living with less and going without. To make sure all our Wild Souls kiddos feel a little holiday magic, our staff works overtime to host a big holiday party at the ranch where everyone’s family – whatever that looks like – is welcome.
Each November, we also kick our fundraising efforts into high gear, reminding WSR supporters and the community how trauma-informed equine therapy can be a force of positive change in child’s life. But we certainly don’t do it alone! In the last few weeks before Giving Tuesday– a national day of fundraising for non-profits and charities – we want to take the opportunity to recognize the donors and partners who support WSR and let them know where their dollars were invested.
2018 brought big changes to Wild Souls Ranch. We moved to a new 17-acre property, participating in the renovation and in the process, learning how to run a ranch. Through this transition, we have nearly tripled in size with the addition of a full-time a development director, social worker, equine specialist and two more ranch hands. We also increased our youth enrollment from 10 to 25 and held our first summer camp as well as numerous workshops for county employees, non-profits organizations, and youth. Most recently, the newly formed Family Wellness Court, a collaboration between Humboldt County and the Yurok Tribe, has brought on Wild Souls to assist local families in crisis. We also achieved every goal in our strategic plan last year, which included updating our financial reporting, developing new programs, and creating wellness plans for staff and our horses. Most importantly, we saw significant improvements in youth, even moving some teenagers into mentor roles and paid staff positions to oversee youngsters. Overall, we are motivated by the everyday sings of improved self-confidence, family stability, kindness and awareness throughout the Wild Souls network of children and families.
For supporting these major accomplishments, we’re sending a GIANT thank you to Shamus T-Bones, Eel River Brewery, Lost Coast Brewery, Dorris & Daughter Catering, Ramone’s Bakery, Humboldt Distillery, Humboldt Craft Spirits, Humboldt Cider Co., Tuya’s Ferndale, and Brett Shuler Fine Catering, for providing delicious eats and libations at our annual fundraisers. Without your craft beers, BBQ, spirits, and renewable vittles (aka – cash!), we simply couldn’t host annual fundraising events like Silver Spurs, Sip of Summer, and Women & Whiskey. Not only are these events a great time – and just a little rowdy – they are essential to funding our daily operations. Additionally, a BIG thanks to our event sponsors Grocery Outlet, Ferndale Pizza, From the Front Porch, Timber Boutique, Great Western, Edward Jones Hec Wood, the City of Fortuna, the McLean Foundation, and Mistwood Montessori for making sure we have all resources to make magical nights like these happen.
Finally, we want to recognize the individual donors and non-profit organizations that partner with Wild Souls each year to double our fundraising efforts and award grants to our growing non-profit. A HUGE thanks to Zwerdling Law, Harber's Insurance, Mark and Sherri Carter, the Humboldt Area Foundation, Hops in Humboldt, Humboldt Sponsors, the YEP Program, the Christine and Jalmer Berg Foundation, Coast Central Credit Union, Kiwanis Club of the North Coast, Fortuna Sunrise Rotary, the USDA, Eureka Soropomists, and the Humboldt Association of Realtors.You don’t know how much your continued support means! In 2019, your donations will go directly to increasing support for Humboldt County families, increasing youth attendance, and working with community groups to develop a Wild Souls Ranch Scholarship.
We couldn’t be Wild Souls without you – THANK YOU – and Happy Holidays. If you’re inspired to donate to Wilds Souls Ranch this GIVING TUESDAY, please TAKE ACTION today!