PARMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLNS) — A mid-Michigan couple is helping children with special needs build connections through their own therapy farm.
Nick and Jennie Pollak’s mission is to help children with social and developmental challenges heal and grow through their organization Healing Hooves and Helping Paws.
“It’s kind of a fun, normalizing way to work through any emotions or thoughts or struggles,” Jennie Pollak said.
More than 50 animals are ready to cuddle and make some new friends in the Pollaks’ own backyard. Their therapy farm east of Albion began after they saw the positive effects that their animals were having on their own children who were facing their own challenges.
“(Our kids) were born at 23 weeks; they’re triplets,” Nick Pollak said. “We started to see that they were making connections with (animals) and learning new skills that really helped them in life.”
Parents who send their kids to the farm can expect everything from exercises helping develop social skills to getting comfortable in new places by spending time with animals they don’t usually see.
“They’re also learning how to manage their body, control their space, control their breathing, their tone of voice, which allows them to be able to take those skills and connect them into school at home or church, wherever that might be,” Nick Pollak said.
Families are welcome to visit the farm every Saturday.
“(It’s a) non-judgemental relationship building environment,” Jennie Pollak said. “Where they don’t care what color my hair, they don’t care what kind of clothes I wear; they care about my heart and how I’m able to connect with them.”
The hope is that when children leave, they’ll have 50 new friends and new connections that will help them in their own lives.