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HomeAt Home & BeyondGolden Rainbow Ranch selected for big donation

Golden Rainbow Ranch selected for big donation

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Forming a beautiful, quiet corner of rural Brooksville, the Golden Rainbow Ranch is a non-profit animal rescue and therapy farm that is dedicated to reconnecting people with nature. Kids and families are welcome to come play with their animals- as well as learn about Florida friendly landscaping and plants. But this educational and environmental mecca, which serves those of all ability levels and offers most of its services at no cost, was in need of some refurbishment, including a new wheelchair ramp, tree trimming, and some new fencing.

Now, a caring group of Hernando women have donated the funds needed to make the Golden Rainbow glow just a bit brighter. 100+ Women Who Care Florida Nature Coast have bequeathed the amount of $11,000 to the Golden Rainbow Ranch during a presentation on August 25.. “It’s not a grant,” said Mary Crouse, president of 100+ Women Who Care Florida Nature Coast. “It’s a gift.”

100+ Women Who Care Florida Nature Coast has given thousands of dollars worth of gifts to Hernando-based agencies since its inception in 2016. This year they have hosted three check presentations already! 100+ Women Who Care is a group of women from the Nature Coast that gives philanthropically to the community. Meetings are conducted every quarter, with each member committing to give $100 per quarter to a charity that is selected at the meeting, through the collection of nominations and the spinning of a wheel marked with the names of the nominees. The winner gets the funds.

“This is such a powerful group,” said member Valerie Ansell. “Giving back in a small way,” agrees member April Johnson-Spence, “leads to something big.”

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“This giving circle is the best,” said a teary eyed Ali Baylor, founder/executive director of Golden Rainbow Ranch. Inspired by the efforts of an important woman in her life, her daughter. Crouse instituted the Nature Coast chapter of 100+ Women Who Care in 2016 with six members, and now leads a group of 110. Among the agencies gifted are Community Crescent Clinic, Veterans Heat Factory, K9 Partners for Patriots, Operation Heartfelt, ARC Nature Coast, NAMI, People Helping People, New Beginning, Live Oak Theatre and Ability Tree.

“These organizations cover the full spectrum of helping, in so many different ways,” said Crouse. “The main criteria is that each recipient has to be a 501C3, and that it must be operational in Hernando County. The help goes to Hernando. And the need never goes away.”
A former nonprofit executive, Crouse feels that her organization brings women of different ages, backgrounds, and beliefs together for one common cause. “We are brought together by one passion,” she said. “To make a difference.”

Crouse feels that the Golden Rainbow Ranch makes a difference in the lives of those it serves.”They do so much here for kids and adults,” she said. “Time in nature brings them alive, with the environment taking away their fear as it brings emotional and intellectual growth.” And that’s the whole idea behind Golden Rainbow Ranch, started in 2008 by Ali and Dave Baylor.

“We provide ecotherapy. A connection with the environment is so important to our hearts and well-being,” said Ali Baylor, a former science teacher. “Some of the kids who come here have never felt grass underneath their feet. Only concrete.”

Visitors at the Golden Rainbow Ranch can interact with 37 animals large and small, including goats, donkeys, chickens (with one section of the farm being designated as Cluckingham Palace), rabbits, alpacas, a turkey, and more. Most of these creatures are rescue animals who run the fields and are fed, housed and cared for at the farm, which also boasts a myriad of floral and plant species.

“What activities the kids do with these animals depends on their individual needs,” said Ali Baylor. The Golden Rainbow Ranch hosts nature-based classes in which students draw pictures of or write journals about the animals, all the while learning about them and their lives. Additionally, in the ranch’s indoor classroom, participants complete arts and crafts projects and make musical instruments from nature made objects. They can take photos and make jewelry.

“Ecotherapy is all in the spirit of healing,” said Baylor. “Here you can reduce stress at a place of beauty and bonding.” A vast variety of children ages 5 and over (children under 5 can attend with an adult supervisor) learn about, and learn to love, nature at the Golden Rainbow Ranch, including special needs kids and autistic youth, and kids served through ARC Nature Coast. Representatives of the Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Club programs have visited here, as have church groups and homeschool classes.

And now, thanks to funds given through 100+ Women Who Care Florida Nature Coast, the golden rainbow shines just a bit brighter. For more information about Golden Rainbow Ranch, visit https://www.facebook.com/goldenrainbowranch/. For more about 100+ Women Who Care Florida Nature Coast, visit https://www.100wwcnc.org/.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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