Latham Dedicates Bill’s Barn and Celebrates Angus the Donkey’s Birthday
Under sunny, spring skies, Latham Centers’ adult residents of Sandwich House welcomed scores of friends and family to the dedication of “Bill’s Barn” and the fifth birthday celebration of Angus the resident donkey. The May 6th celebration was just two days shy to the year of the completion of the Sandwich House Donkey Barn constructed for Latham’s new Asinotherapy Program. Guests were treated to donkey demonstrations by trainers Kris and Bob Thompson and “Donkey 101” resident graduates followed by celebrations on the beautiful grounds.
Thanks to the generous support and commitment of the late William “Bill” McClennan, Barbara Swaebe, the Yawkey Foundation II and Friends of the Donkeys, Latham piloted this cutting edge “Donkey Therapy” program with the arrival of Angus and his sidekick Moonbeam in 2010. As a way to honor the late Mr. McClennan’s enormous and longtime volunteer legacy with Latham, we saw it fitting to dedicate the Donkey Barn in his name while celebrating Angus, the Vermont-born tan gelding he purchased for Latham. Mr. McClennan’s daughter Ki kindly obliged in unveiling the Bill’s Barn sign along with Latham Executive Director Anne McManus as some 50 guests of all ages looked on.
To date, Latham has trained six adults with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) and five staff in the Asinotherapy program designed to build trust, self-esteem, and social skills with our individuals while fostering learning and nurturing in the process. Toward that end, the second class of PWS adults and Latham staff just began Asinotherapy training. Latham’s ultimate goal is to have Latham adults train and mentor Latham children in this cutting-edge and innovative life-changing program as they form intergenerational bonds with one another.
Moonbeam the donkey turns five on September 3, 2011. Stay tuned to learn how we will mark this loveable creature’s birthday with the Latham family.