Youth Development

ARK FARMS

Empowerment through Restoration

Bartlett, TN

Mission

ARK Farms exists to empower young people to become confident, courageous, and connected through the work of providing care for rescued animals and the skill-building process of tending the farm where the animals live. This allows the young people to be the heroes who work together to solve problems instead of being recognized as the problem themselves. Working to make life better for animals which have been abused, neglected, or abandoned actually helps restore the lives of the young people giving the care. They also come away with valuable work skills they can use for the rest of their lives. It's Empowerment through Restoration.

Ruling Year

2015

Executive Director

Mrs Abby Mauwong

Vice-President, Operations Director

Mr. John Rick McCabe

Main Address

6309 Sir Ians Cv

Bartlett, TN 38135 USA

Keywords

Youth Empowerment, Animal Related Therapy, Vocational Skills, Community Involvement, Youth Development, Skilled Trades Development, Workforce Development

EIN

47-4295459

 Number

7780497455

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Youth Community Service Clubs (O51)

Agricultural, Youth Development (O52)

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Disempowered young people are our rising generation of leaders. The adversity faced by this generation is not limited to race, poverty, or zipcode. Young people deal with adverse childhood situations in every part of town, and from all backgrounds. Some of the most disempowered young people are over-scheduled, electronics-dependent teens, who deal with personal chaos but cannot reach out for help due to negative stigma, and they are at greater risk of self harm and substance abuse than any population. The processes of restoring rescue animals at the farm allows them to nurture, foster, and develop the very pieces of themselves they have been missing. Through projects working with rescued animals, land, and materials they become empowered to improve their communities and their world. Empowered young people have the courage to improve life and become connected in their communities. Without that connection, they will will not thrive.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Summer Youth Empowerment Program - In School Youth

Youth Empowerment through Volunteering

Re-empowering Victims of Human Trafficking

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of youth who have a positive adult role model

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of youth who volunteer/participate in community service

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of youth who model positive behaviors for peers

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of youth who demonstrate motivation to learn

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed social skills (e.g., interpersonal communication, conflict resolution)

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed positive relationships

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed healthy relationships

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed a strong sense of self

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of youth who demonstrate critical thinking skills (e.g., reasoning, analysis)

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of youth who demonstrate leadership skills (e.g., organizing others, taking initiative, team-building)

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of youth who demonstrate civic participation skills (e.g., compromise, perspective-taking)

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of youth-led community service projects

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Youth Empowerment through Volunteering

Context notes

Every project, whether land and water conservation, garden building, bee-keeping, or rescue animal care, is led by a coalition of youth.

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed knowledge about occupations

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

We want people with adverse life challenges to be restored and empowered to move forward confidently, and in doing so to experience being reconnected to their community. If we do our work well, young people and people who have barriers to building confidence and compentence will find a place where they can start again with no judgement or criticism, get a fresh start with an identified focus on becoming their most effective self, and begin again by gaining skills that focus on them becoming integrated into their communities as contributors and trusted members. People have to know that they are valuable, and in order to become connected with others they need to see the value of those around them. Through the work of taking care of the rescued animals, land and materials on the farm, we are able to reveal the principles of nature which build confidence and respect, develop understanding of the unique value of all living things, and teach the keys to living as a responsible and competent member of the community. In the process of this training, each farm "hero" becomes a meaningful member of their team, finding ways to contribute and collaborate to design and build their own problem-solving project that makes life better for the animals on the animals on the farm. Not only do they gain new skills that can help them as they become job-seekers, but they also discover what is good about them and how they can be a real contributor at school, home, and in their community. Problem-solving, work-ethic, and team work are all components of the life skills they come away with. We are proud to offer these time-honored farm life opportunities as a way of building resiliency and competency in the young people of this generation.

We offer youth empowerment days for ages 11 - 18 at the farm, during the school year mostly on weekends or after school on project days, and during the summer as 2 week-long internships. The youth volunteer core builds from middle and high school students who come seeking community service hours. Once their hours are completed we invite them to join the Youth Volunteer Core, a group of young people committed to developing strategic projects during 2 weekends per month. They learn hard skills including handling materials, using construction tools, building, welding, fencing, and some heavy machinery skills. They also learn valuable soft skills through the team projects and various necessary animal related care. Some of these skills are empathy, compassion, collaboration, active-listening, problem-solving, redesign and innovation, attention to body language, and how to connect with people you struggle to relate to. They may work on building or renovating a coop, repairing a barn, developing a water project, creating a solution to allow grazing animals to get to new pasture, but they decide what to work on. As interns they also learn to find the skills and values in others visiting groups. By this they learn to look outside themselves to create opportunities for the group as a whole to grow and connect others to empowerment. Through this they realize that 1) They Matter, and 2) There is something about who they are that can be developed as an asset in their lives. By this we are guiding them through the process of becoming confident and empowered individuals who can both receive the benefits of connection in their community and also contribute a real benefit to the community.

We have this great space of land and a bunch of rescued animals that provide an ecosystem model for teaching people how to live in their world in a meaningful way. In north Memphis we have 54+ acres of land where we host over 100 animals, mostly rescues, a 5-stall barn, pastures, walking wood trails, and a 5000 square foot restoration facility. We also have qualified staff who are experts in their fields of welding, machinery operating, engineering, sustainable agriculture, and animal related restorative human services. We train people in both life and work skills, using the Farm's animals, its facilities, and the land.
Through the work of taking care of the component aspects of the farm, we are able to reveal the principles which build confidence and respect, develop understanding of the unique value of all living things, and teach the keys to living as a responsible and competent member of the community.

Even for casual visitors to the farm, experiencing the power of the outdoors with animals all around, playing and working just for the fun of it in nature, this is healing and meaningful. Some people just ask if they can come and sit in the space of the farm. It is that good.

Our staff are trained in special power-shifting modes of communication. We make every opportunity available for our young people to take charge of their focused projects and work with each other to see them to fruition. It makes all the difference in the world. As we have learned from the kids we have worked with in the past, when people are part of creating life, they have a powerful incentive not to destroy it.

We measure progress by skills gained, group work cooperation, improvement in resiliency factors and self-esteem, and supportive traits as outlines in the 40 Developmental Assets. Each young person completes a volunteer core form that outlines what skills they feel competent in and what they want to learn. Our program opportunities will be adjusted to make sure their goals for attaining new skills are met. We also have them complete written statements sharing what is good about them. Through this we form a baseline for the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and look for resiliency indicators as outlined by the American Psychological Association's page on resiliency. We observe as many of the 40 developmental assets as are obvious and watch for others to grow and develop through their program. When the young person has completed their training we ask them to tell us what is good about them now, what they have learned an how they have changed since coming to the farm. Keeping a focus on the indicators and resiliency goals helps us to ensure that the outcomes are being met. Seeing the young person actually master new hard skills and even work to train others in the skill is the indicator we look for in hard skill competency.

We are working now with youth internships and are seeing great creativity and demonstrations of increased awareness of their strengths and how that matters to their community. During 2017 more than 500 people came to the farm as visitors, and over 200 of those came as youth volunteers and took part in projects. We graduated 32 youth interns during our first summer, all of whom have learned the complete task list at the farm including everything from horsemanship and small animal care to building with tools and welding. We currently have a rotating group of 20-30 volunteers per weekend, all of whom take part in innovative project design and implementation, and we have visiting groups about once a month who come to the farm to learn how to work together and find confidence in a new way. We have stories of young people who were recent suicide attempt survivors and one who was afraid she wouldn't make it through the first week due to extreme anxiety, but at the end of their empowerment weeks and now on board our Youth Advisory Core, they have become confident and courageous. The anxious young lady is even trying out for a position in a school dance group, though she was formerly afraid of being in front of people, and she has never danced. She said, "I really think I can do anything." In the new year we are planning to open more week-day opportunities during the school year if we can pay staff for it. This will allow us to complete more internships than we can during the summer alone. We are also planning to start a "Dangerous Skills Class" in the spring where middle and high school teens can learn everything from changing a tire, to welding and tractor driving. This will help them grow in marketable skills while also helping them become empowered young people.

External Reviews

Financials

ARK FARMS

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

No

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

No

Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Gender

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies

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We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
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We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
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We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
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We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
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We have a diversity committee in place
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We have a diversity manager in place
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We have a diversity plan
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We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
In addition to the above listed demographics, we also work to include diversity in: Levels of education - Our Board includes a non high-school graduate, a high school graduate, and others with Bachelors and Masters degrees, and a Law degree. Kinds of Business - Our Board is diverse across the business spectrum with representatives from Industrial Manufacturing, Heavy Machinery Operation, Medical Engineering, Education and Higher Education, Workforce Development, City Planning, Accounting, Legal Affairs, Logistics, and Youth Development. Amongst our board and staff we also speak at least 8 languages.