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2022 Grants Challenge

Community, Purpose, Happiness! Supporting special needs individuals to live their best life!

Golden Heart Ranch provides young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities opportunities to reach their fullest potentials and enjoy meaningful, satisfying and joyful lives. We are an inclusive community where all young adults learn, work and create lifelong friendships in a supportive and caring environment.

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What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

BIPOC- and Women-Owned Businesses

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Rose van Wier Hein is the founder and CEO of Golden Heart Ranch, a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of young people with special needs. Drawing on her experience as a small business owner, and driven by the realization that her autistic son needed a future full of security, happiness and fulfillment, noting that there was very few options and parents scrambling to find quality programs, she set out to create an organization that now serves hundreds of greater Los Angeles families and provides peace of mind to parents who want the best possible future for their children. Golden Heart Ranch addresses the growing need for improved health and wellness, vocational training, housing and socialization among teens and young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.Specifically, GHR was created to address the many complex problems and needs of this vulnerable and socially isolated population.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

GHR is unique in that it addresses the needs for increased and improved physical activity, social interaction, life skills and community participation. As such we proudly engage in hiking, yoga, fitness classes and dance on site. We provide the environment for our participants to learn, socialize and succeed in the community. Many community outings are planned monthly, eating at restaurants, bowling, shopping for groceries, museums, beaches... all outings are designed to enhance their confidence and navigation of the bigger world. Our overnight camp, Camp Coyote Ridge gives our guys and girls the opportunity to sleep away from home for the weekend, many for the very first time, creating a much needed opportunity for independence and teamwork. Social events such as pool parties, holiday events and camps focus on building friendships and creating opportunities for socialization that are often out of reach for our population. We promote life skills with cooking classes that require serving, dish washing and interacting with our peers. Laundry, sweeping and cleaning of our spaces is an important aspect of preparing to one day possibly living outside of the family home. Art and music are a staple at GHR, many of our Ranchers do not verbally communicate and expression through art is a wonderful medium. Animal care is another unique aspect of GHR and an important therapeutic tool. A cow, 3 goats, 28 chickens and 2 bunnies make for lots of care, feeding and love.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Throughout the United States there is a shortage of quality programs for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. Los Angeles is no different. Many of our developmentally delayed individuals are forced to languish at home due to a severe lack of day programs.Many of the programs available are simply holding tanks for a few hours with very little stimulation or interaction in the community or with peers. GHR strives to be exactly the opposite and with that we create opportunities for our IDD Angelenos to thrive. We have so much to offer and everything we do we do with heart, putting our participants first and creating an environment that supports skill building, community integration, social interaction and personal health.The impact of this grant will be to offer more frequent Ranch days and longer camp sessions without increasing tuition.We want to serve more individuals from LA county and the surrounding areas and allow them the full valuable experience of Golden Heart Ranch

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The true impact of what we do is measured first and foremost by the individual accomplishments of the GHR participants. Because each participant has a different starting point in social and life skills, we measure individual improvement from start to end of each program. In this way we see how our opportunities for growth make positive impacts. We also measure results by family and caretaker approval which has been consistently reflected in the growth of our camps and programs year after year. and extensive waiting lists. We are proud to report expansion from a handful of families to hundreds of participants today.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 350

Indirect Impact: 1,000