Donna Monteleagre is no ordinary 4-H mom. Several years ago while attending the Sarpy County Fair she noticed how special needs and medically challenged children were drawn to sheep and how the animals responded to the kids. In 2009, Monteleagre took it a step further and established True Buddy Farms and the Luv A Lamp program. Monteleagre says this all started as a sheep therapy program. Monteleagre says that led to sponsoring a sheep show at the Sarpy County Fair for the kids and adults taking part.
Monteleagre says the animal therapy program then expanded into farm camps where children come out to the farm to take advantage of recreational activities work with the sheep and do a bit of work as well. That expanded to camps for other organizations like daycare centers, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, school clubs, vet students and even family activities.
Monteleagre says just this past summer they started a program working with the Sarpy County Juvenile Justice Center where children sentenced to community service can complete the requirements by working on the farm. They also work closely with Sarpy-Douglas County 4-H, Sarpy County, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Offutt, Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging and several other community programs.
True Buddy Farms is a non-profit organization and they are hosting its first annual Pumpkin Festival on October 13 with all proceeds benefiting their programs.