An Uplifting Experience Like No Other

By Amanda Moore

In the the day-to-day busyness of life at the Ranch, I rarely am ever able to ponder the answer to the question: Are we making a difference in the lives of those we serve?

Recently, though, I received a letter from a leader of MIKID (Mentally Ill Kids in Distress) who testified that, indeed, we are making a difference—a huge difference. The following is a first-hand account of the life-changing encouragement experienced by the children of MIKID who visited the Ranch, and left with a new outlook on life.

The name of our organization is MIKID, Mentally Ill Kids In Distress. Our mission is to improve the behavioral health and wellness of children and youth through a family-centered approach. 

MIKID offers support, education, and skills development to families and their children as well as youth and young adults who are experiencing mental health and behavior challenges throughout Arizona and, most recently, Colorado.

A group of our MIKID kids came to Reigning Grace Ranch after a visit to our facility by the RGR team with a mini horse that left a lasting impression on our youth. The kids really enjoyed grooming and walking the mini horse — so we knew that coming to the Ranch was the next step.

The Ranch has been so beneficial to MIKID youth by giving them a chance to connect safely with animals. Many of our kiddos want pets and love the opportunity to connect in a new environment. The animals at the Ranch are a tremendous help to MIKID youth in developing their social skills and independence. We have seen an increase in overall happiness with the youth we have brought to the Ranch.

During the past visits to the Ranch, we have noticed that many of the MIKID youth have increased trust, reduced anxiety, and had better impulse control. Their passion for animals allows them to focus on caring, interacting, and being present.

The trauma, neglect, and obstacles our youth have had to face make a day at the Ranch needed and welcomed. When they are brushing and talking to the animals there, we can clearly see their need to nurture, protect and love the animals.

We are so grateful and thankful that we have been able to expose MIKID youth to your wonderful Ranch. Your hospitality has made MIKID youth and staff feel so comfortable with all of you, the environment, and the animals.

As a staff member, it is clear that the Reigning Grace Ranch has amazing, knowledgeable staff and whose heart is teaching and reaching youth. Thank you from MIKID youth and staff!!

Jennifer E. Lopez
Special Projects Coordinator
MIKID – Mentally Ill Kids In Distress