Mustard Seed Society has a new look!
We are happy to announce that Mustard Seed Society is revamping the website. Please feel free to browse and send us any suggestions you may have. Keep updated on all events and activities of Mustard Seed Society with our new, user-friendly site.
Mustard Seed Society is a nonprofit organization created to provide interactive adventure-based therapeutic interventions.
Our client population includes those who have been addicted, abused, wounded, and allowed to grow up without nurture or guidance.
We are a faith-based organization offering hope to those who believe their life is hopeless.
The Mustard Seed Society – Pell City, AL from See It Productions on Vimeo.
We have had a great year with some 9th grade students from Pell City High School. Many of them arrived angry, rude and afraid. We have spent the year with these amazing young folks and watched them grow and learn. The horses have done their job well. They like relationship —-but only if it is a good one. They are very effective in communicating when they feel disrespected. The kids have developed a close bond with their horses. Caring for the horses, relating to them and riding them has helped them to learn self-regulation – a life skill that can positively impact their lives. We at Mustard Seed are grateful to have had the kids this year.
Last week, Cori Ray – MSS board member, and I had the honor of presenting a program on suicide prevention to the 10th grade students at Pell City High School. Cori had good information and statistics on teen suicide to share with the kids. I got to pitch candy when they answered questions!! The kids were receptive and learned a lot, especially the phone numbers for the crisis center and the national suicide hotline. It was great day. We will return next week to share with another group of teens.
The weather at the Farm has just NOT been delightful for some time now. This has not really contributed in a positive manner to the moods of the kids or the critters! Last week the high school kids returned to the farm after a couple weeks of missing out due to strong storms. They each fetched their horses, groomed them and headed for the arena for some drill team work on the ground. Our chief BG was having a really difficult time with her horse, Keosha. They are fast friends but today Keosha continually nipped at her hand and was generally uncooperative until she dissolved in tears. She exclaimed “She doesn’t like me anymore.” We explored why that might be when BG stated “I’m in a bad mood.” Keosha loves being in relationship and it did not take long for her to let BG know she was not holding up her end of this relationship. BG’s desire for this relationship is strong and she immediately changed her attitude—This resulted in a complete change in Keosha. They continued their work together like a real team – both smiling! This high spirited Saddle Bred horse knows a bit about relationship and she is more than willing to share that knowledge with her favorite BG.
January 26th was a brisk day but it did not slow down the Strong Girls from Jefferson County. We had 6 beautiful teen girls and their 4 guardians/counselors. The girls learned how to build a cooking fire where they roasted hot dogs, cooked baked beans in an iron kettle, and made s’mores. We played a therapeutic game with the horses and then had a nice ride. The girls were good sports in everything. It was a time to learn, grow and just have fun!
A couple years ago I was blessed with the gift of a beautiful Saddle Bred horse. She’s a tall red-head, fast as lightening, and moves with great grace and beauty. She is also a typical Saddle Bred – high spirited and a bit nervous, having had little training before she made the long trip from North Carolina to our farm. She was given the Indian name KEOSHA, meaning Indian Princess, by one of our program teens.
Here at The Mustard Seed Society we spend most of our time working with at-risk youth. Most of these teen are in adjudicated programs, many in residential placements. We serve both boys and girls, many who are much like Keosha.
Keosha has a strong desire to connect and to please and she is very smart. She learns fast and forgets nothing – even when we leave her to herself for extended periods of time. Like many of our teens, sometimes her “smartness” is a good thing – sometimes, not so much. Keosha quickly assesses who is safe and who is not. She knows who has her best interest at heart and who just wants to use her. She reacts accordingly, being uncooperative with those who have a less than honorable intent. She is not aggressive but has learned how to keep herself safe. This is important for these teens who have been so vulnerable in their lives.
A few weeks ago I was working with a group of 9th grade girls from a local high school. Within this group was another group we affectionately called “The Bad Girls.” They love the label and pride themselves on being big, bad and tough. The head “bad girl” (BG) chose Keosha to be her horse. The BG rarely talked or interacted with the staff, nor did she speak to Keosha for a few weeks. However, they were a pair and Keosha cooperated with her completely. One day they were outside grooming their horses. I noticed that the BG was having difficulty combing out Keosha’s tail so I fetched some conditioner for her. I began spraying Keosha’s tail and suddenly remembered how much she hates to be sprayed, to the degree that she jumps, dances and twists around! Keosha, however, did not seem to remember. She stood motionless as this wounded young girl carefully brushed her. The love that had developed between these two built trust in Keosha that far superceded my spray bottle. As I spoke to the BG about this and how her ability to instill trust allows her to be a strong leader, Her entire self changed – body language, affect, everything! That was the beginning of real change for her.
Last week we were preparing to beginning a riding program. The kids were doing a drill team pattern, on the ground, walking their horses on a lead line. I looked up to see BG going thru the pattern with Keosha without a rope. Their bond was complete! Sweet healing!