Main Stay offers therapy in farm environment


By Sarah Baczewski, Staff Writer

Main Stay Therapeutic Farm, located in Richmond, is a non-profit organization composed of committed staff and volunteers. Their purpose is to cater equine assisted services to individuals of any age who deal with developmental, physical, emotional and social obstacles.

The therapeutic riding and animal assisted therapeutic activities programs offer opportunities for an individual to reinforce positivity within their mind and body.

There is a variety of people who benefit from Main Stay’s services. They have clients from ages 3-93. There are many clients who have autism and down syndrome. Individuals who are post-surgery or post-car accident are also common clients. School groups frequently visit the farm as well. Despite everyone’s differences and their reason for coming to the organization, the farm and animals unify everyone together.

Main Stay offers a variety of programs including therapeutic riding and horsemanship, animal assisted learning, team building and leadership sessions, saddle up programs, and a remote learning series.

The clients who take on horseback riding may have a physical, cognitive, social, or emotional disability or challenge. Whereas individuals who complete the animal assisted learning programs might be looking to work on social and emotional goals.

Whether staff and volunteers are working with individuals or a group, they always try to set goals. Setting personal or group goals help ensure that there is a purpose and an intention behind their actions on the farm. They strive to help their clients grow and achieve their goals.

Jean Maraist, the program director at Main Stay, states that, “we try to focus on everyone’s abilities and not their disabilities.”

The staff and volunteers at Main Stay make sure that every individual who walks through their doors feels respected and valued. They are devoted to creating a safe space where people are welcome and accepted for who they are. Families do not fear that they are going to be judged for their loved one’s disability or behavior at Main Stay. It is an overall positive and loving environment for clients, families, animals, as well as the staff and volunteers.

If you are looking for a volunteering position in an optimistic environment, Main Stay is the place for you. The volunteers serve a significant purpose for Main Stay, especially those who help out in the therapeutic riding program. The non-profit would not be able to offer affordable prices for clients if they had to pay staff members to help. Without volunteers, Main Stay would not be able to fully function. The non-profit organization is always looking for dedicated volunteers to join their team.

Visit to receive more information on their programs and sign up to be a volunteer.