Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

The Big Red Barn Retreat receives $50,000 grant from lululemon Centre for Social Impact

Local Veteran participates in Healing Arts Therapy.

Local Veteran participates in Healing Arts Therapy.

The Big Red Barn Retreat (BRBR) has received a $50,000 grant from the lululemon Centre for Social Impact to support multiple programs and services, including Healing Arts Therapy, Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) programs, iRest Yoga Nidra classes, and iRest training for licensed yoga instructors.

It is estimated up to 40 percent of South Carolina’s Veterans are struggling with mental health challenges, leading to other issues such as unemployment, underemployment, depression and anxiety, isolation, alcohol abuse, PTSD, and more. The BRBR’s Healing Arts Therapy classes are taught by licensed art therapists and volunteer Veterans who have completed Warrior PATHH training. Participants train to use art and music to develop and improve coping skills related to PTSD, combat related stress, and reintegration with their communities. About 90 percent of participants report at least a 20 percent reduction in symptoms of PTSD and increase in life satisfaction. Due to these amazing results, Healing Arts therapy course inquiries are on the rise due to media attention, making the lululemon Centre Impact grant timely.

BRBR’s EAL programs combine skill training and resiliency coaching with the unique use of horses, to significantly improve quality of life through practice of self-regulation, proper coping mechanisms, and social/ emotional support. The BRBR’s equine participants report at least a 50 percent decrease in symptoms of depression and a decrease in emotional suffering.

Finally, the generosity of lululemon will fund iRest Yoga Nidra classes at no charge for Veterans, active duty service members and first responders. The grant provides iRest Yoga Level 1 and 2 training for instructors so the BRBR has “train the trainer” status. iRest Yoga Nidra has been endorsed by the U.S. Army Surgeon General and is recognized by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury as a form of alternative medicine. iRest has been shown to be effective in scientific trials for conditions including chronic pain, insomnia, depression and anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

As a lululemon grantee, the BRBR is incredibly thankful for the centre’s support of mental health post-traumatic growth opportunities. The BRBR’s participants—who are trained en masse to conform, follow strict protocol, and not share their individuality—that finding their personal voice, seeing trauma for what it is, then growing away from it, is actually natural. The BRBR also looks forward to future endeavors with the lululemon Centre for Social Impact, such as additional skills building workshops, offering fellowships or volunteering from lululemon employees, creating further connections and networking, storytelling, and amplifying these programs’ impact on our Veterans and in our local communities.

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