Volunteering at ANT is great. The alternative form of therapy provided through equine therapy appears to be a great outlet for those who aren't comfortable with traditional therapy settings. The people are kind, helpful, and hardworking. I wish more people could experience what it's like to work with ANT.
I have volunteered with ANT as much as my life allows since I was 14. When I started my parents had recently divorced and my mom suggested volunteering, which turned out to be the best choice for my life. ANT has been instrumental in helping me build the self-esteem and confidence necessary for becoming a healthy adult. Now I can give back by helping others relate to animals through mutual respect and care. It is amazing to see the transformation of participants at ANT from timid to confident, scared to courageous, and broken to healing. Everyone that goes to ANT is changed in the positive way that they needed thanks to the loving animals, volunteers and directors.
I have worked with ANT by coordinating work experiences for area youth, who performed various tasks at ANT. Through this role over the past two years I have heard youth describe feeling empowered to embrace their past emotional scars as opportunities to share compassion and maturity, as volunteers and as clients. Sonja Wingard exudes kindness while providing structure and enlightening experiences; she and her staff gently guide clients through situations where they discover themselves as capable, contributing parts of interactions and our community. ANT has my highest recommendation as a place to heal wounds and celebrate one's unique gifts.
I have been with ANT since September 2010, and I have had amazing experiences so far. The staff has been incredibly supportive and kind, and really values all the volunteering that I do. I can tell that Sonja (the executive director) and all of the other staff and board members care deeply and are passionate about what they are doing. Additionally, I have seen amazing transformations exhibited from the youth at ANT that I have volunteered with. ANT is an amazing organization, and the only thing that would make it better would be for the organization to move to a bigger farm so they can help even more children and families!
I had made a promise during my life that I would try to give back in some way for all the things that happened to me and for me.Recovery from some illness,recovery of a child from addiction,a career that was a perfect fit for me,finding such a great place like Bellingham to spend retirement years,to name a few.I more or less stumbled one day into ANT [Animals as natural therapy].I had tried other things but it wasn't quite the right fit. I was to stuff envelopes and help with mailings.I almost drove away when I arrived at ANT. It was a farm!. I thought I must have made a wrong turn but I thought I may as well go in. A very nice lady asked me to come back in a few days and then I met more nice people and some pretty nice animals.What followed was the start of a new career[I hope]helping kids and people in need.
I am a colleague of Sonja Wingard, director of ANT and a volunteer. I know the tremendous value of this body of work and learning and feel that the human and animal family at ANT delivers programs with such integrity and compassion and professionalism that they deserve the highest possible recommendation. Their dedicated efforts change all lives they touch for the better in countless and lasting ways.
Long live ANT!