OAKS NEWSLETTER AND UPDATES FOR 2023
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
We are so thankful for everyone who has come alongside us in 2022 and we are so excited for what’s to come in 2023!
So much happened this year and this is only the beginning!
Photos from our WISE School Debrief Workshop in 2021
So much happened in 2022! Here is our Year-End Recap and some updates for 2023!
OAKS RESTORATIVE RANCH
YEAR-END RECAP 2022
We got our Nonprofit Status!
This year we celebrated getting our 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Status approved by the IRS in April! After 13 months of waiting and then revisions, we are officially a Nonprofit effective February 10th, 2022! Since this, we have worked towards getting all of our ducks in a row (or horses in a barn?) in order to get started offering sessions.
Bank Account and Donor Thank You's
Photo from left to right: One of our First Donations, and Custom painted Thank you Cards.
We got our bank account set up this year and ran our first fundraiser!! This is such a huge step for us as it means we can now accept Tax-Deductible Donations! We jumped through a few hoops setting up our Nonprofit Fundraising platforms but for now we have settled on Paypal for ease, and Zeffy for fundraisers. Zeffy is a nonprofit fundraising platform that is created specifically for nonprofits and takes 0% of the donations! (Where Normally 2-3% is taken from each donation as a fee for the service.) Zeffy also has amazing customer service!
I was trying to set up a Venmo Charity but because this feature is so new, their customer support was not able to assist us with our specific case. After probably 30+ emails back and forth, and a very stressful couple of days, I got a phone call from the Customer Support at Zeffy asking if I needed any help setting up our first fundraiser on our account. It was such a relief to talk to a person after the email tornado I had just gotten out of! I had set up an account with Zeffy a few days earlier, and after talking to them about their program over the phone, I set up our first fundraiser just in time for Giving Tuesday the next day! (Thank goodness!)
We also made custom Oaks Thank You Cards for some of our donors while we waited for our stamp to come in! They are acrylic watercolor and the outline is freehanded in pen. Each one is unique, so it was very fun to pick out each card for each individual donor! (To our Donors; You guys are the best!)
We set up our Social MediaI’m not going to sugar coat it… Posting regularly on Facebook and Instagram was very intimidating for me(Kali) at first. I always worry I am not doing enough, or what I am doing is not noteworthy enough to take up this space. Fortunately, I received some encouragement from a few sweet humans which helped me get started! Each time I would set up a post, I would tell myself, “It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be.” (Thank you Encanto). We now have a lot of updates on our Social Media pages! As I was posting regularly, I realized that a lot of the people who follow us don’t know our whole story. “Walking through healing” with people, horses, and the community sounds great, but it doesn’t give the history of how we came to be! In order to help with this, I created our “Storytime Sunday” videos where I tell a short story - a chapter, if you will - from the odyssey of how we got started! These have been so much fun to share and I am super excited for some of the client interviews we hope to share this year!
What's Next in 2023
This year we hope to reach out to our community and make an impact. We want to create spaces and opportunities for healing, reflection and growth, and we want to offer this for all ages! We are keeping our eyes and hearts open as we look for our own future space, but because we do not have a “home base” yet, in 2023 we want to bring our program straight to you! We want to offer pop-up sessions for schools, at ranches, and other groups that want to participate. Just like our sessions, these workshops and group sessions are always free, in order to be accessible to everyone.
So what will this look like? More Details Please!
Who: Horses in the community who are in need
What: Pop-Up Sessions and Workshops for ALL AGES
Where: Hosted at Local Ranches, Schools, and other Locations
I have a Group, How Do I Sign Up?
CLICK ON THE BUTTONS BELOW FOR MORE INFO
2022 has been a great year and we are so thankful for everyone who believes in us and in this dream! We look forward to giving back in 2023 through sessions and volunteer work in the community. As always, reach out with any questions, we love hearing from you guys!
Thank you all for being here, and welcome to 2023! It’s going to be a great year!
Kali and Oaks Restorative Ranch
Hi Friends and Family!
What a year! God has been doing SO much with Oaks Restorative Ranch in this season and we are just blown away!
Here’s a Brief Recap:
Looking Back on 2021
We had some big plans going into 2021! We had an extensive plan for session startup and curriculum development which we worked on through the spring, and when summer came we even met with potential clients who we could serve. We were not able to have the program functioning fully just yet, especially with Covid and ever-changing regulations added to the mix, so we set off on a journey of figuring out how to support people and horses in our community in the meantime! For me (Kali) that looked like volunteering time with an awesome rescue up in Bakersfield called All Seated in a Barn and serving in the youth and young adult ministries at my Church, all while working on Oaks Restorative Ranch in the background. All Seated In a Barn rescues horses and donkeys from being shipped to slaughter. They rehabilitate and rehome these equines so they can live their best lives possible! In the future we would love to serve their horses in addition to horses locally who need love and support in order to get to where they can be adopted! Supporting other nonprofits is a huge one of our values!
Volunteer Work Day - 2021
We were so blessed to be able to host a volunteer work day where a small group of volunteers came together to help get the property we were working out of all set up for sessions and for the horses there. We moved and installed (pun intended there!) sand into the horses stalls to level them out, and we gave the barn a good cleaning as well! One of the highlights of the volunteer work day was simply the time spent together and with the horses! One of the most exciting parts of the day was surprising our volunteers with custom Oaks Restorative Ranch T-Shirts with our awesome logo by Bailey Hill! Read more about the volunteer work day by clicking the link in the title, or by clicking here! We are so thankful for everyone who came out to help!
Spring 2021 was spent refining our curriculum. From January to May we spent each week reading through the curriculum and editing it so it would be a valuable resource for our program and other programs in the future! It is now over 60 pages long! We are excited to add to it further by creating videos that go with each session so both the client and the session leader has a reference as needed.
Thanks to an amazing donation we were able to purchase our web domain! Now you can click on Oaksranch.org and Oaksrestorativeranch.org and it will take you to our page!
Go on, you know you want to try it!
We are working to make our website more mobile friendly as well in 2022! (If you notice anything in the website that could be more user friendly, please let us know! We so appreciate feedback!)
After months of filling it out, we submitted our 1023 on June 7th of 2021!! This is the form that will define us as a nonprofit organization if it is approved, which can take between 3 months and upwards of a year! Nonprofit Status will help us toward our goal for Oaks Restorative Ranch, which is to offer free Sessions for horses and people where they can grow and heal together. By allowing us to receive donations and be exempt from some types of taxes, this will be a major financial asset to our program! This is so important. In these sessions we remind both clients and horses of their worth. Horses so often develop issues that in people we would classify as anxiety and even depression (loss of motivation, hopelessness, muted mood etc) when what they do is the only thing that gives them value in their person's eyes. It is a beautiful picture, because we know horses are worthy just because they are horses! God made them and loves them! But how silly is it that we don't transfer that same principle over to ourselves! When we value ourselves, or are valued only because of the things that we do, we develop these same issues and more. It mirrors quite beautifully. Submitting our nonprofit paperwork means we are one step closer to our goal:
To walk through healing with individuals,
to honor and value horses who have been left behind,
and to be a catalyst for restoration in the community.
One person, one horse at a time... or sometimes many horses and many people! Even other kinds of animals too! We love healing together, and sometimes finances get in the way of that so by offering these services for free we are opening up that door so connection and healing can happen for anyone!
So, How's It Going Now?
We got our first response from the IRS in January of 2022. We had some updates that were needed in our 1023 form, which, in a 40-page-form, that totally makes sense! We still needed to file with the secretary of state, which required some revising of our Articles of Incorporation to be current with state law. Then we needed a "Good Faith" Financial Plan to figure out what costs would look like if we were fully up and running. We went back and forth with the IRS for a few months making updates! I(Kali) even learned how to Fax because everything with the IRS has to be on paper! My biggest question through all of this was, Once we have this, how can we best use it to benefit our community? How can we best serve people and Horses where we are now?
THE BIG SURPRISE
Some of you may have already guessed it, but just over a year has passed since we submitted our 1023’s for Nonprofit Status…. Well in April we received the news that...
WE ARE OFFICIALLY A NONPROFIT!!
We received our Determination Letter, dated April 11th, 2022, granting us tax-exemption and nonprofit status which would be considered active tracking back to February 10th!! We are so excited to see where this journey takes us in the near future and we are so happy to have you along for the ride! (Yes that was a pun too!)
If you are (or even if you aren’t) a praying person, here’s how you can be praying for us:
Location, Funding, Staff, and Insurance. (Let’s Break that down a bit…)
Thank you to everyone who is coming along on this journey with us! We appreciate you!! Please reach out with any questions, ideas, comments, concerns etc etc! We are so thankful for this awesome community with a heart to help others!
You, yes YOU, are simply amazing, and so very very loved!
Talk to you all soon!
Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and at OaksRanch.Org
Volunteer Workday and T-Shirts
What a great day! Recently we had the privilege of hosting a volunteer work day to help spruce up the ranch we are currently working out of. It was a day of fellowship, hard work, and snacks! (And of course horses)
I was absolutely blessed to see everyone coming together to get the job done. We were so excited to surprise our volunteers with custom made Oaks Restorative Ranch shirts!
These shirts are a perfect example of what can happen when a community works together! Let's start with our logo, a dear friend of mine, Bailey Hill designed this logo for us! Then we sourced each individual shirt from thrift stores nearby, which made each shirt unique. Finally a total stranger named Leslie reached out and offered to print the logos for us on her own vinyl cutter after reading a post about my ambitions ideas on a facebook page! Rachael and I (Kali) worked together to Place and Press each shirt until we were done! We couldn't be happier with the result!
Thank you so much to everyone who came together to make all of this happen! We appreciate you!! <3
How About Them Oats?
Oaks of Righteousness was the name I originally felt God place on my heart for this program several years ago. I always wondered if people would get it... Oaks are easy enough to understand, but “Righteousness”? What does that even mean?!
Tsedeq is the word used in the passage of our founding verse. Isaiah 61. And it means Rightness, Righteousness or Justice. “People enjoying of Salvation” (credit: the concordance my grandpa gave me)
Woah, epiphany. Justice isn’t supposed to end when someone is avenged. Justice isn’t just putting a bandaid on a wound, it’s fixing the sidewalk that tripped you so it doesn't hurt anyone else, and then successfully skateboarding right over it! Righteousness, in its purest form, is when we can actually enjoy the gift of salvation. What a thought. Enjoy it. Enjoy it? Who ever has time to enjoy things anymore? (Which, don’t kid yourselves, I know at least half of you were thinking that. Probably your left half. Maybe your right... anyway, whichever half of you was thinking that knows what it’s like to be tired. Exhausted even. Worn. Used. Like you didn’t sign up for this. (I see you))
When was the last time you really enjoyed something fully? When I think of the word "enjoy" I think of complete peace, complete rest, and permeating all of that is joy. In-Joy. I think about being silly and feeling safe enough to not take myself seriously. That’s like the legit kind of happy that God has to offer us!
So, how about them Oats?
How do we learn to rest in God’s peace and joy? When can we trust that we are safe enough to be silly and not worry about him rejecting us or leaving us for it? He said He is the same yesterday today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5 and Deuteronomy 31:6) He will never change how much He loves us. His grace will never reverse. Your sins, your mistakes, are paid for. Take the receipt already and go enjoy your picnic! He bought enough for everyone!
Otis (Pictured behind the donkeys, Chestnut with a White star, peeking his head out) Otis knows about feeling worthless. Otis was taken to an auction in Texas. It was loud, it was smelly, it was hot, and he was confused. Why was he here? Where was his home, his friends, his mother? What was that funny stuff they fed him? It made him tired. Something was on his back and he didn’t have the concentration to care much at all. He was tired and overwhelmed. A strange person took him and the weight up to the auction floor. Here someone would purchase his life. One buyer would sentence him to death, a kill buyer shipping to slaughter him. One buyer might give him another chance. The speaker rolled like a machine gun claiming Otis’ worth to all in attendance. People cast lots to claim his destiny. But one bidder stood out, above the rest. This bidder said, “Oatis, you are not just a number. You are loved and worthy of life. We will pay the price for your freedom.”
And they did.
Oatis was rescued from the reach of kill buyers, out of auction, by All Seated in a Barn rescue which is located in Bakersfield. In their little chunk of heaven. They made the trip all the way out to Texas to save as many lives as they could. In the end, saving the lives of over 50 Equines like Oatis.
Oatis was now ready to head home. It was still smelly, still loud, still scary. Oatis was still groggy and confused, but too tired to fuss. Into a large steel cave with many others like him. Bounced to and fro for miles, but taking comfort in the others so close to him. They were confused too.
Morning, and light shines through the trailer windows. Freedom was in sight. Some of the rescues embraced their new freedom by leaping from the trailer into it! Others were unsure at first but followed the example of others. Still others refused to step in their freedom, surely the past is safer than the unknown. Then came Oatis’ turn. I was not there to see his steps into freedom, but I was told his feet shot up into the sky. He was home. He was free. He was saved from death.
Oatis is like you and me. His story, and the stories of every save from ASIAB are perfect examples of salvation in Christ. Jesus paid the price for our freedom. It can be scary, and sometimes it’s easier to cling to the past, but just you wait. The morning brings fresh light and the crisp morning air is waiting to welcome you. So what will you do?
I dare you to leap into the freedom that you have been given. And fly free as a horse in the wind.
In honor of our little Oatis we are nicknaming our kids' program Wild Oats To signify growth and freedom! Let Oatis’ story be an encouragement wherever you need it today. And as always, if anyone needs or wants prayer, we would be happy to pray for you!
Check out All Seated in a Barn on Instagram and Facebook to see all of the amazing work they are doing! And when you see it, and are amazed, or completely dumbfounded, turn to our little save and say, “How about them, Oats?!”
Oatis' story is real. He is a 2 year old pony who was adopted a few months later! He is enjoying life in his forever home and I heard he is being loved on by some kids there too! Also all of the words that are a different color link to ASIAB's Social medias!
He is in the details...
I am writing this at 2:55am on Saturday, April 18th. I should be sleeping, but I was the kind of excited that doesn't allow for sleep! This is Kali, by the way!
We are at the point in our start up process that is full of details:
Calling potential board members, filing paperwork, figuring out insurance, location, horses, website, logo, social medias, and the list goes on. (Though I'd say that about covers most of it!)
One thing I am learning, is that God is in every little detail.
Yesterday (Two yesterdays ago if we are admitting that friday is over and it is Saturday)
Anyway, yesterday a sweet friend of mine made a logo for the organization!! This was a huge blessing because we had been trying to figure out a logo for months now! And these logos she made are absolutely stunning! See for yourselves!
I mean look at those little oak leaves coming off of the tail, and the beauty and pride of the fiery one! I was over the moon. So. So cool.
Now if only God would send me someone to figure out all of this paperwork.... xD
Our next steps right now are Insurance, and Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation.
We will also be testing the program with a teen-tester this summer!
Our timeline, which we here, in writing, submit before God, is to file all the Nonprofit paperwork by this December, so that, if everything is approved, we will be a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization by January 2022! (And that's if everything takes the max amount of time to be processed!)
One big one is diligence with the paperwork. I am currently enrolled in 17 units, which are currently online, and it is hard to not view the paperwork as more homework. (Which can be hard for me to do, because it isn't technically "due")
So pray that I will be diligent and have endurance and persistence with these.
Pray that God would provide the horse that needs this program for the summer session testing that we are doing.
And finally, please pray that I would have wisdom in moving forward with school. I am not currently a therapist, I am a semester away from my Bachelors, and two years out from my masters if I get accepted right into a grad school. Pray that God would guide in choosing the right school to prepare me to lead others in this form of Therapy.
Thank you for Praying and hoping with us!
We love you all!
We updated our logo to match our new name: From Oaks of Righteousness to Oaks Restorative Ranch, so it shows a little more clearly what we are! Thank you Bailey for our amazing Logo!! We love it!
Big Faith Steps
This week we are taking some BIG FAITH STEPS toward this vision and mission!
This week God has been so so faithful to bring us the things we need!
We are looking through Insurance, Location, and paperwork for obtaining the 501(c)(3) status!
This week we are meeting to pray over locations
We are praying over board
We are praying for favor with our desired domain name
Jesus even brought me (Kali) to make friends with a classmate who happens to work for an Insurance company that connects people to the best fit for them and provides free help with Financial Literacy! (I'll post their website with permission!)
What we need this week:
Pray that God will sort out all of the little details! (Well, we know He has, so maybe just pray that we (namely me) (namely-er Kali) Has peace that HE'S GOT IT COVERED.
Pray that God will bring supporters so the program can support the financial aspect that will be coming up, which I will post more specifics about as we go!
Pray for our Board of Directors. (Not formed yet, but we will be praying over our potential board members and hopefully start reaching out soon!)
Pray for our future staff, volunteers, and clients.
JESUS IS THE GOAL
Pray that we will keep that firmly in mind!
Love you all and I pray that God will bless your socks off today! (Unless it's cold, then I pray He will bless them on.)
- Kali B