When Justin arrived at Purpose Farm, he was emaciated, bruised, and swollen, the victim of years of abuse and neglect. But according to Sandra Seabrook, founder of the New York-based nonprofit, the quarter horse’s difficult life story makes him the perfect partner for the youth mentoring program she and her family run.
At Purpose Farm, they pair youth ages 6-18 struggling with emotional trauma from neglect, abuse or bullying, with animals that have been rescued from similar circumstances. “They overcome their traumas together as they work at the farm,” Sandra explains. Today, 40-some animals call Purpose Farm home. Most, like Justin, are rescues.
At the farm, the animals find a loving, forever home, and new purpose as mentors for troubled children and youth. Sandra says the healing flows both ways. “The youth respond so quickly to our animals,” she explains. “In just one session, they’ll go from being quiet and emotionless, to smiling, asking questions and helping care for the animals.”
It’s all part of Sandra’s mission: to make a difference in the lives of both humans and animals. “If I can let these kids know that what they are going through now is not the way things will always be, give them hope for their future, confidence to live it out and love them to the other side, then I have fulfilled my purpose.”