Our mission is to enrich the lives of youth with needs through barnyard animal interactions at our Smile Farm and mobile visits, creating moments of joy and happiness throughout our AAH community. We provide barnyard buddies so children and their family members can 'experience the smiles only animals can bring'. Our vision is a "Million Smiles".
We are NOT a petting zoo. We are NOT an animal rescue. We ARE a non-profit providing services to youth with needs through barnyard animals.
Riley meeting Lollipop.
Riley Church was a typical horse-crazy little girl. She dreamed of riding dressage in the Olympics and going to college to study veterinary medicine. With big brown eyes which lit up her face when she smiled her bright smile, Riley was always cheery and optimistic. She had an impish sense of humor and an infectious laugh. Her nickname, “Smiley Riley,” was well deserved. Always thinking the best of others, she was supportive, caring and compassionate beyond her years. She loved all animals, but especially cats, dogs, horses, sheep and goats.
Riley first started riding at Webb Ranch when she was 8 years old. She and her friends were fortunate enough to be under the tutelage and mentorship of Wendy Mattes. Their Friday afternoon group dressage lessons became the highlight of Riley’s week. She was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor in 2004 and began an intense year-long program of radiation and chemotherapy during which time she did extremely well - continuing to go to school, taking weekly lessons, entering competitive events at Webb Ranch and around the area, and living as normal a life as possible. 2005 went well and Riley thrived, but, unfortunately, in January 2006 Riley relapsed. True to her spirit, Riley lived her life with a positive attitude, and never let cancer define who she was.
In April, when Riley could no longer travel to the Webb Ranch, her dear friends Wendy Mattes, Martha Rykala, Lori Stambler-Hill and Joan Ravier, with the help of Vicki Amon-Higa, arranged for Vicki’s miniature horse, Lollipop, to come to Riley’s house and visit. Right into the living room Lollipop came! The look of pure joy on Riley’s face was wonderful to see. Lollipop came in the front door, into the living room, walked past the other people in the room, and went straight to Riley. It was as if Lollipop knew she was there to visit Riley. For the next hour, Lollipop stayed with her head in Riley’s lap, letting Riley pet and love her. It was an unforgettable experience for everyone who was there.
Riley passed away a month later, in May 2006, at the age of 14. Her interaction with Lollipop inspired us to share our animals with youth with needs. Our Angel, Riley, is looking down on all we do and Lollipop continues to create smiles at the AAH Smile Farm.