For years I’ve been teaching service learning courses, classes that expand beyond the classroom out into the community, that pair academic learning with hands on community engagement. One of my favorite community partners is Forget Me Not Farm, a place where children who have experienced abuse and neglect get to heal through learning to care for once abused and neglected animals who at one time shared their history.
This week I had the chance to talk with Carol Rathmann, the founder and director of the farm that is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Despite growing up in the city of San Francisco, Carol had a love of farm animals. We talk about the conference she attended that ignited her spark and encouraged her to use her passion to spread light to the children in her community. Carol is a go getter, someone who is not afraid to ask for what she needs, especially when she believes in what she’s doing.
Over the years my students have had their own magical experiences “on the farm”. Students come back to the classroom frull of stories about feeding the earless pig “Van Gogh” or watching the children squeal in delight as Teddy, the baby lamb, nuzzled up to them. Some students have enjoyed their time there so much they continued to volunteer even after the class was over.
Carol Rathmann is the founder and director of Forget Me Not Farm and executive director of Forget Me Not Children’s Services. For over 40 years she has been involved in animal welfare and for the past 30 years with children and animals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and studied the benefits of animal assisted and horticultural therapy to child victims of abuse and neglect, as well as certification as a Specialist in Animal Assisted Activities and Therapy. She is the recipient of many national awards recognizing her for her innovative work in the prevention of child and animal abuse. Carol lives on a small farm along with 20+ animals she has rescued.
To learn more about Forget Me Not Farm
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To learn more about Robert Maggio, the composer of our theme music, please check out his website.
To learn more about the inspiration for this podcast, please check out Suzanne's memoir, Estrellas - Moments of Illumination Along El Camino de Santiago.
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