In this interview with Savanah McCarty, we talk about her being the founder and executive officer at Wild Souls Ranch, how her non-profit helps kids build a foundation and heal their spirits, and how busy running a non-profit can be! Also be sure to check out the preview to the Wild Souls documentary here.
Rashod: Hey everyone. This is Rashod here again at firework coworking space in Old Town Eureka, and this is our Member Spotlight with one of our coworkers, Savanah. Savanah, how are you doing today?
Savanah: I’m good. How are you?
R: I’m doing good. And it’s good to have you here. So we usually start these interviews off with three sort of simple questions before we get into the nitty-gritty. And how about you start off by telling us who you are, a little bit about what you do, and maybe how you ended up out here in Humboldt County if you’re not from here originally.
S: My name is Savanah and I’m the founder and executive director over at Wild Souls Ranch, which is an equine assisted growth and learning center for Humboldt County’s at-risk youth and foster youth. And, lets see, we’ve been open for about three years serving the community as a local children’s non-profit organization. Lets see, what brought me to Humboldt County is this work that we do. I saw a need for this and so I moved up here. It’ll be five years in May.
R: Wow, where’ d you move from?
S: I’m originally from Shasta County, but I was living over in Monterey and Santa Cruz until I moved up here.
R: Oh, OK. Cool. And so you were getting into a little bit about the work you do; how about you kind of elaborate and tell us what your day is like day-to-day and what your schedule’s like.
S: Our ranch is over in Loleta- we have a space over there. My days are pretty packed. When you’re in the non-profit world you have to fit as much as you can in. And my ranch sessions are typically run after schools, so the afternoons and the evenings are when we have the kids out there and we do our equine assisted growth and learning sessions. So my office time is primarily in the morning- my office and meeting times. Man, my day-to-day life, I don’t even know where to begin. I just do a lot. So basic office work, to sometimes I feel like I’m a vet tech and a horseshoer because it’s riding and being at the ranch. It’s also fundraising, board meetings, staff meetings, volunteer meetings. I mean it’s definitely not an 8-5.
R: Totally, and what’s sort of an overview of the program? What do you guys exactly do?
S: So the kids come out- they’re referred to us by their therapist or County Mental Health, and they eventually learn to ride, but they groom our horses, they feed them, they help take care of all of the horses at the ranch. They learn what it is to bond with a being, to trust the staff and the volunteers that they work with. And our motto is “We’re a place where foundations are built and spirits are healed.”
R: And they can kind of transfer those skills they learned there into the real world.
S: They do into everyday life. So a lot of these kids come in not really wanting to trust adults, because adults have caused a lot of pain in their lives. We work with a lot of foster youth and a lot of youth adopted out of foster care, and so they can trust a horse and that’s where they kind of rebuild on what love is, and we can show them that through horses.
R: Wow. That sounds great.
R: And I guess, have you maybe had a unique working experience being a part of a coworking space? Or how do you really utilize this coworking space?
S: I really utilize the space for the board meetings, and staff meetings, committee meetings. I really utilize the board meeting space that is here. I wish I could utilize the desk because I have a desk plan, but it’s really hard to get me to sit down at a desk for like an hour or two a day.
R: Yeah I assume your job is more hands-on and out in the field and stuff.
S: It is. It’s very hands-on. I would say I’m answering my emails in my truck. So yes, I would love to be here more and that’s the plan that I’m set up for, but I would say honestly that this is our meeting space because we don’t have that at the ranch. It’s better than meeting in a hay barn- that’s where our board meetings used to be. So, we’ve bumped up.
R: Yeah, cool. And well, I guess you were kind of saying you only really use this space for meetings and stuff, so I guess my next question would be: what would be the thing you think is most beneficial about being apart of a coworking space? But I guess it would just be the fact that your just utilizing the rooms they have here.
S: Yeah, totally. And it’s a nice professional place to bring clients if I need to have them meet me somewhere besides the ranch. Because there’s some people I don’t like to bring out to the ranch while we have kids there and I need to have that privacy, but still have a professional place that isn’t my house, because our office is either my house or the ranch. So this is a good in between.
R: Yeah, totally. I can see that. And I guess just a little more about yourself, what are some hobbies you have or things you do on your free time, if you have free time.
S: Non-profit people don’t have free time. Uh, fundraising? That’s what I do in my free time. I ride- I like to ride my horses when there aren’t kids around, which is really hard to.
R: Is that something you’ve been doing since a little girl?
S: Yeah, I’ve been riding since I was six. I started the organization because I was in foster care growing up and it was something- it was the only thing that I believed worked for me. And so I really believe in the power of healing through horses, so I wanted to create something like what I had but on a larger scale serving more youth. And yeah, I would say I have two dogs. They come to the ranch with me; that’s also what I do in my free time, but yeah that’s about it.
R: Yeah, some people are just busy. And I guess just to wrap it up, do you maybe have any closing statements you’d like to share about firework?
S: It’s a pretty rad place. I like that there are so many different kinds of work being done here. It’s a whole melting pot of people.
R: Yeah it’s a hub.
S:It totally is, and I respect that a lot of these people are self-starters, they own their own businesses- I think I’m the only non-profit here. But it’s kind of cool to vibe with people who are go-getters.
R: Yeah, kind of like the entrepreneurial spirit here.
S: Totally, and there’s a lot of young people here which is I think awesome to be around, too. And you can motivate each other.
R: Agreed. Alright, well that about wraps it up with this interview with Savanah. Thank you for scheduling time out your day to do this with us.
S: Thanks for having me.
R: No problem. And if your listeners out there would like to know more about firework and what we do, come check us out in Old Town Eureka or visit our website at firework.space. Until next time folks, take it easy.