Volunteer Spotlight: Corinne Ayers
Corinne & Miss Morgan
As we all know, at the heart of SALI is the Children’s Program and at the heart of the Children’s Program is our wonderful Corinne.
First year of Children’s Program 2011
Corinne began to participate in the Children’s Program in 2011 and has been taking part every year since! She has an amazing perspective on how the program has changed and grown over the years.
When Children’s Program first began it took place at M&M Connemaras Farm in Fort Langley where everything that was needed for the program had to be brought to M&M each day. SALI partnered with the animals at M&M including 2 horses Miss Morgan & Pudding, chickens, cats and 2 miniature donkeys that belonged to the owner of that farm. In 2012, when Keryn wanted an opinion regarding our first rescue animal Badger and whether he would fit into her vision of the type of animals that she thought would be best with the children on the farm, she asked an expert horsewoman, her friend Corinne.
In 2015, SALI was finally able to locate a stable home in South Surrey. Corinne says that right from the beginning having that stability made a tremendous difference in what the children experienced. It created a more secure and safe environment when the kids knew what to expect each time they came.
Along the way their have been changes and additions made to the program.
Fall 2015 Children’s Group
A while back the kids started to work in SALI’s garden as part of their weekly visit. Corinne feels that the garden is a brilliant addition as it brings to the program something very unique and very complimentary. In the garden, it makes so much sense for them to be able to see the circle of life. Kids that have never set foot on a farm or maybe even dug in dirt are able to see the fruits of their planting and harvesting. As well they get to sample what they have grown when they gather in SALI’s kitchen.
While gathered around the table in the kitchen, at snack time, the children get to experience a little of what it is like to share a meal with others. The kids get to sit and just chat. She feels that this in itself can be a healing experience.
Fall 2016 Children’s Group
Another addition that Corinne appreciates is the opening and closing of a groups time at the farm. Each child is greeted by the group as they arrive and they find out the plan for the day. To finish up their visit all the group gathers to say goodbye before heading home. The children are encircled with safety within their group during the time they are at the farm and take this with them as they leave.
Corinne has come to believe strongly that it should be a prerequisite to have worked with the animals for a while before becoming a member of the Children’s Program. She thinks it makes you more in tune with them and also you know the routines and how each animal seems to connect with people. “You become more aware of their personalities and you get a level of comfort and a familiarity that you don’t have if you haven’t worked in animal care.”
In 2017, Corinne was presented with her 5 Year Pin
And then there’s Louise.
…”Well first of all I think that Louise is the perfect name for the kids. They love the whole idea that Louise is a boy…and like, who picks up a rooster? Well the kids can! It’s such a wild experience. It was one of the most profound experiences I have had for myself. He’s pretty darn intuitive and he purrs!”
For well over a decade Corinne has been involved in Personal Growth training, partnering with her horses, doing workshops given for individuals and corporate groups. As horses communicate non verbally they pick up physical and emotional cues. The horse will then mirror what is going on in the group dynamics. The workshops are “geared toward improving communication, leadership and fostering team-building”.
Yet another way that Corinne is nurturing the human-animal bond.
From the beginning Corinne, our horsewoman extraordinaire and fantastic Children’s Program participant, has been an amazing and loving part of our SALI family. Passionate about her love of the children, the animals and the mandate of the farm, her heartfelt desire is that SALI will find a furever home.
She also wanted to let you know that after 3 years of not riding she is “back in the saddle again” and she is thrilled!
Coordinator of Membership