Olympia

Farm that pairs abused animals with at risk kids needs help

Farm that pairs abused animals with at risk kids needs help »Play Video
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- An Olympia rescue farm that pairs abused and abandoned animals with at-risk kids is facing a financial crisis and needs help to stay afloat.

Noah Kinnear fosters more friendships at Nature Nurtures Farm than he does in his fifth grade classroom.

"I'm not really one of the cool kids," he said. "It's kind of sad because not many kids hang out with me."

The 10-year-old is among the more than two dozen kids from broken or foster homes who are matched with mentors at the Olympia farm.

"The animals are kind of like my friends," Kinnear said. "They stay with you and are always with you when you're sad."

But the program is having financial problems and is in jeopardy of closing.

"We had read county code and thought we were an agricultural program and good to go," said Nicole Peters, who founded the non-profit farm.

The farm's summer horse camps sustain the free mentoring program, but the county considers the program commercial -- not agricultural -- and that comes with a price.

In order to get right with the county, the farm needs a special permit that costs $10,000. They also need a well, an engineer to design a septic system, and drainage for parking. That could all add up to more than $30,000, and the deadline is Thursday.

If they don't raise enough money with their Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign, Nature Nurtures could cut camp or cut back on the number of kids they accept.

That concern's Jed Smith, who mentors Kinnear at the camp.

"It opens up the kids' eyes to see that even damaged animals can overcome that and be loving and good and happy, so it gives them some hope for themselves, too," Smith said.

It seems hope and a little love have gone a long way for a little boy.

"It feels really good to think other animals like me as much as I like them," Kinnear said.

The farm is holding a harvest festival fundraiser on October 12. Anyone who would like to donate money to the organization can do so here.