June 3rd 2014 - For 28 years Kids To The Country has been taking at risk urban children to the beautiful and serene setting of a natural forest and pond on 1750 acres of land. The program gives at-risk children a first-hand experience of the outdoors, providing them with both fun as well as an educational opportunity. According to the director of Kids To The Country (KTC), Mary Ellen Bowen, nearly a third of these children live in poverty, and 15% live in extreme poverty. This program has proven to be both beneficial on a psychological level as well as a physical level with improved fitness and health education.
Kids To The Country has become quite popular with the children in Tennessee with having more than 5,000 urban kids participate in the program over the years. Many of these children come from homeless shelters, low income neighborhoods, and various social service agencies around the Nashville region. The program takes place at The Farm in Summertown, TN, which is an intentional community in operation for over 40 years.
“Our goal has been to open the minds of such children to the possibility of a future very different from their present, by providing them with the experience of being surrounded by nature and caring individuals dedicated to taking care of their needs.”
According to KTC Counselor and Curriculum Coordinator, Dr. Peter Kindfield, the counselor training program has proved to be especially successful in transforming inner city children into confident and empowered preadolescents.
Besides providing at-risk kids with an outdoor experience, the program is fueled by ambitious youth who are looking to develop leadership and counseling roles. Youth counselors familiar with what the program has to offer, ask to come back year after year. Many of these youth go on to have a positive impact on their local communities.
Jamie Neal Jackson, a college student as well as KTC counselor, is one of the many young people that feel the program has had a great impact on all those who are involved. “I know that Kids To The Country is accomplishing something truly life changing and powerful, both for the kids and for us, the counselors. I have seen it now for years and I am so grateful to be a part of this important work!”
Kids To The Country is currently seeking funding through the Indiegogo Campaign to continue to expand and become available to more at-risk children this year. The goal
About Kids to the Country
Kids to the Country is an outdoor, experiential, education program for at risk urban children and also part of non profit charity Plenty. The program itself is headed off by Mary Ellen, who is the project director, founded the program in Tennessee in 1986 and is looking to further grow this program to benefit urban youth from all walks of life. To find out more visit: http://plenty.org/programs/kids-to-the-country/ and on facebook.
Mary Ellen Bowen, MSc, Project Director
KTC, 425 Farm Rd. #3, Summertown, TN 38483