The GentleBarn was founded by Ellie Laks in 1999 and is now home to 130 animals rescued from severe abuse, neglect or slaughter. Ellie and her husband, Jay Weiner, run the facility in Santa Clarita, Calif. Once the animals are rehabilitated, they stay at the barn for the rest of their lives and serve as ambassadors helping to heal abused children. The Gentle Barn is host to kids in foster care, on probation, in gangs, on drugs and from the inner city, as well as school groups and special needs kids and adults. Through the interactions with the animals and their stories, kids learn kindness, compassion, confidence and reverence for all life.
The Gentle Barn has been a dream of Ellie Laks’ since she was 7 years old. She would bring homeless or injured animals home and her parents would get rid of them while she was in school. When she came home to find them gone, Ellie would say that when she grew up she would have a huge place full of animals and she would show the world how beautiful they are.
The Gentle Barn is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday.
To learn more, make a donation, or volunteer, click here.