I am sure there are many curious to know, who and what is Dragonfly Ranch. Dragonfly Ranch is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) with the vision of working to establish a place where young adults who age out of the school system, who are not yet ready to enter the work force without assistance, can continue working on their skills. The continuation of establishing stronger life skills, independency, following directions, communication, socialization, fine and gross motor skills is the focal point for Dragonfly Ranch.
I am the co-founder, Kristin, the mother of two young adults with a disability known as Fragile X. This disability has caused cognitive delays, receptive delays, multiple sensory issues, mild to moderate aggression, and more. As each of my sons entered the school system, it became abundantly clear the negative stigma placed upon my children. Advocating for my children was quite overwhelming and constant, but I was determined to provide them the best education that met their needs, not necessarily total inclusion. The amount of meetings that I had to attend was outrageous just to ensure that they received the proper education as required by law.
As Tyler and Nic continued to age, I then began to realize that my biggest challenge was going to be when they aged out of the school system. The entire process is extremely confusing and complex. At this point, I came up with a vision to begin a nonprofit for young adults who have similar challenges to the ones my boys face.
As I began working on this idea and establishing a business plan, I discussed it with my very close friend, Ali. We quickly became so close in a way that we considered each other family. Ali also had a daughter with disabilities, which is just one of the many reasons our bond became so strong. Ali quickly joined me and became a co-founder. Her interest, passion and excitement in making this dream a reality for so many was just as strong as mine.
Together Ali and I worked diligently on preparing the business plan and filing all necessary documents to become a nonprofit. From there we partnered with Humanitarian Social Innovations (HSI) as our fiscal sponsor for our 501(c)(3) and our ideas were ready to flourish.
Unexpectedly and horrifically, Ali was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon rectal cancer. Although at an emotionally, mentally, and physically daunting time, she did not stop working on making this dream come to fruition. We continued to move forward with our plans of the future. Ali made me promise her verbally and in a written notebook that I would turn this dream into a reality once she was no longer here with me and her family.
After Ali passed away her daughter, Shauna, immediately jumped on board to fill her mothers shoes. Shauna has now taken on the role of the caregiver for her disabled adult sister, Karli. She is now my partner and together we are making great strides in bringing this to fruition.
In May 2022, Shauna and I began working with Karli, Tyler and Nic making dog treats to begin raising funds for Dragonfly Ranch. We found that this was a great learning experience for them. It involves following directions, staying focused and on task, gathering ingredients, measuring ingredients, mixing, rolling and cutting the treats, baking, dehydrating, bagging and labeling.
May 2022 was the kick off of our fundraising. It has been a huge learning curve for Shauna and I. Developing ideas for how to make it work best for each individual and capitalizing on strengths is important for the progression of these individuals. We are constantly brainstorming to add new skills to allow these individuals to become productive, accepted members of our society.
A nonprofit organization that is 501(c)(3) tax exempt through fiscal sponsorship with Humanitarian Social Innovations.