About the Cattle Program
The Palmer Home Cattle Program sponsored by Valero provides children with the opportunity to work alongside animals in a safe, structured, and productive environment. They learn to care for the cattle, keep them safe, and develop bonds that will help them to self-regulate and give a healthy outlet for their emotions.
How the Program Works
Through this program, children will develop empathy, learn how to care for another living creature that cannot care for itself and how animals react to our emotional state more than we react to theirs. They will also learn the importance of focusing on the task at hand and on impulse control.
The Restorative Power of Nature
Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Studies have also found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.
Healing Benefits of Nature
The ability to self-regulate and manage one’s current emotional state is essential within this program as animals can sense and react to the emotions of their caregivers.
There are many studies on animal assisted interventions and therapy which suggest that they can provide at least short-term, positive outcomes related to reduced PTSD symptoms, depression, and anxiety.
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Roles & Responsibilities
With the support of our Director of Facilities, children have roles and responsibilities that build social and emotional skills, instill accountability, and learn valuable life skills and a respect for nature.
Responsibilities include monitoring the structural integrity of fences and gates, providing food and water daily for the cattle, cleaning water troughs, driving a campus utility vehicle, helping transfer the cattle from one paddock to another, and assisting with veterinarian day twice per year.
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