Forget Me Not Farm
Forget Me Not Farm teaches kids important life lessons.
An innovative, award-winning program in Sonoma County, the Forget Me Not Farm, helps at-risk youth and children break the cycle of abuse that is too often the legacy of children growing up in violent, abusive or negligent families. This program fosters care, compassion, gentleness and a respect for others in children and youth who have not experienced these qualities in their own lives and lack a proper role model to develop these skills.
"Most of them haven't really had positive experiences with animals, a lot of them have seen their own pets badly cared for, neglected," says Carol Rathmann, program director of Forget Me Not Farm.
The farm provides a safe, nurturing environment in which children are free to explore and develop appropriate emotional and relationship skills. The children have the opportunity to learn about the cycle of life by planting seeds and caring for the plants until they become flowers or bear fruits and vegetables. They also learn about animal care, which includes bathing, grooming and feeding the resident farm animals. The children also have the opportunity to bottle feed and cuddle young, orphaned or needy animals and to experience the joy of helping an animal live, grow and thrive through the loving intervention of the child and caring adults who are a part of this program.
"Some of the children have such a history of abuse, we call this a kindness and a gentleness program," Rathmann says. "Some of them don't actually know what that means. When you ask them what gentleness means, they'll say something like it means not kicking or not hitting."
Since the start of the Forget Me Not Farm in 1992, the program is credited with helping thousands of children.