The mission of Hope Haven Kids is to empower all God’s children to shine in a faith-based, life-giving, safe and positive environment. Providing a safe and loving place where families and especially children with disabilities can feel the love of Christ by planting the seeds of hope – one person at a time.

Hope Haven Kids provides an array of services to families affected by disabilities, with emphasis on those living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, by access to fun family events, equine therapy, and prayer. Hope Haven Kids intends to bridge the gap to services that promote whole health, independence and self-sufficiency for future generations in a faith-focused environment. By believing in people with different abilities, we strive to come alongside families to offer programs in fundamental skills focusing on five areas:

  1. Faith – Speaking in truth to who God says they are.
  2. Acceptance – positive, peaceful interactions in a world full of missed opportunities.
  3. Education – Learning opportunities to encourage appropriate life long learning.
  4. Health – Physical health through exposure and choice to live by making healthy choices and moving daily.
  5. Purpose – Utilizing gifts, talents, and skills contributing to something bigger than self.

Hope Haven Kids began as The Calamas’ were called to their land. With a dedication to being faithful stewards, they built the vision that God called them to create a Haven for children and young adults.

When they purchased their land in 2011, they knew that God was leading them to buy the property that would become Hope Haven Kids for great things. Their hearts love children and their calling is to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those with neurodiversities, fostered, and from difficult circumstances.

The Calamas lived and raised their children over the past 30 years within the greater Birmingham area. Known as business people and involved in their community and active with their church, they knew that as their children grew this season of life would give way to more time spent serving and investing through their ministry.

Tracy and John bring devotion to leaving others better than they met them, and building upon their backgrounds in sales and restaurant entrepreneurship; they marry these values by leading with love and uncompromising integrity.

Through the establishment of the farm, a special needs ministry took shape. The horses, they housed trotted into the hearts and minds of participants visiting on community days and helping children heal roped their heart. Healing Horses at Hope Haven Kids exists to partner individuals, especially children, with equine activities that build skills and provide opportunities for healing.

In the Spring of 2020, we will offer a unique and participant-centered equine program at Hope Haven Kids called Healing Horses. This program will begin with a progressive three-week camp that will step participants from a camp environment to one that includes ground skills then adaptive riding. Within this structure for our program, there will be an opportunity for evaluation, education, and growth for each person.

Healing Horses at Hope Haven Kids believes that each child can progress. The core of all of our programs will be participant-centered and tailor-made. With faith, and a Certified Riding Instructor providing a solid and tailored learning environment, it is our goal that every child reach their goals and succeed.

Even before the rise in disability diagnoses, the bond between man and animal has stood the test of time in creating an emotional and healing relationship. Studies show that individuals with disabilities benefit from equine interaction. Some benefits provided through equine activities include increased motor function, emotional regulation, and sensory stimulation.

Often verbal communication in people with neurodiversity is complicated, and instead of relying on verbal expression, they can experience physical interaction with the horses.

Individuals have shown an increase in self-confidence, self-esteem, and basic self-care via learning basic horsemanship skills and engaging in other equine-related activities.

Across each week, there will be a continuation of the skills begun in the previous week and bridging activities to generalize different environments that skills and activities can be common to the participants.

Beginning with a camp environment, our certified instructor and volunteers will be present to evaluate and form relationships with each student. The flow for our first set of camps will flow week to week building one to another.

Week 1: communication (meet the horses, safety awareness, barn rules, herd observation, learning equine body language, discussing equine body language and how it reflects/connects with everyday interactions)

Week 2: horsemanship skills (grooming, basic equine care, coat colors, breed, gaits, diet, parts of the horse, tack and equipment)

Week 3: During week three, the participants will be evaluated during an adaptive lesson. Individual instruction for our certified instructor will be given as well as different levels of support from volunteers. This will pave the way to future adaptive riding lessons and give critical information for our instructor to pair the participant(s) with the correct horse, support and lesson plan.

The first session will begin April 14, 2020, for ages 5-7 and run Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for three weeks from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. The program is designed to build upon skills each week. The price for the 3 weeks will be $360.00 and space is limited.