As parents, we know that a little hard work is good for young people, and farm life certainly provides that. With 1 in 5 young people today experiencing some form of mental illness, either depression, anxiety, or the like, Brose McVey has formed an organization that that pairs troubled teens with opportunities on farming operations. “It is especially powerful for kids who are hurting and seeking answers,” he stated. “It engages their senses both physically and emotionally. It gives them purpose and builds self-confidence.” He added that farm work provides something very basic that urban life has lost.
McVey, whose own son struggled with mental illness and benefited this this kind of experience, says farming is the perfect place for these young people to work out some of their problems. Ben’s Ranch Foundation is named in memory of a young man from central Indiana who died in 2015 following a 10-year struggle with bipolar disorder. Ben was diagnosed at age 14 and sadly passed away from an accidental overdose at age 24. For 18 months of his life, Ben enjoyed, lived, and worked on a Wyoming ranch learning how to train Mustang colts. His experiences on the ranch greatly enhanced and prolonged his life and would eventually form the basis of a new program being rolled out this year.
Ben’s Ranch is seeking farm families who would be willing to provide this kind of experience to troubled youth. “It can be a large operation or a small truck farm and anything in between,” said McVey. “As long as they have that good-natured, parenting influence that can help look after these young people, treat them like family, and teach them farming skills.” Ben’s Ranch Foundation is currently seeking Host Families for this summer’s first class of enrollees.
For more information, contact Bensranch.org.