Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mustard Seed Ranch by Kendra Strey

Friends and family:

On our 20-year anniversary, my church, The Crossing in Costa Mesa, launched a very neat project. The leadership gave away $20,000 to the congregation—some got a $20, some got a $10, others a $50—and challenged participants to try to multiply the money and then give it away to a need we find on our own.

My chosen charity is Mustard Seed Ranch, an offshoot program of the Orange County Rescue Mission. MSR is a working ranch in Warner Springs, a rural community between Temecula and Borrego Springs. It was founded on 1999 as a retreat for hurting youth where they can learn to build trust through animal-assisted programs.

The Children’s Ranch Program restores self-esteem in children who have been violated by adults. The kids actively work the ranch to establish trust with the animals. The process gives children a sense of accomplishment and builds self-worth.

My plan to multiply my $20 is by asking those who have the means to match it. I will bring the contributions with me when I visit the ranch on September 27 for a volunteer workday. MSR uses donations to fund its programs, which it does not charge the youth participants for. Their operational costs include providing room and board for youth camps and the upkeep of the ranch animals.

It will be fun to see how this works out!

Thank you!