The Barn’s 2023 Annual Appeal Letter

The Barn’s 2023 Testimonials

Didn’t get a chance to contribute to The Barn’s Year-End Giving Campaign? Learn about the many ways to help out The Barn by visiting or scanning the QR code here! 


Thank you so much to First Bank Charitable Foundation for awarding The Barn at Spring Brook Farm with this generous grant, which will go towards providing children with disabilities, life-changing opportunities!

Barn representatives, Andrea Marine Abernethy (Executive Director) and Chris Guldin (Facilities Manager) are pictured here receiving the award.

Thank you First Bank!

Thank you so much to First Resource Bank and representative Sharon Sharpe for directing some of their Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) funds our way! This generous donation will go toward the wonderful programs we offer to children with disabilities.

Barn representatives, Andrea Marine Abernethy (Executive Director), Chris Guldin (Facilities Manager), Raichel Barzilay (Program Manager), Dreamer (star program worker and mini-horse) and Board members Sharon Cichocki and Mingo Stroeber enjoyed showing off our incredible facility and getting to know more about the bank’s great work in the community!

To learn how your business can donate to EITC-approved organizations and receive 75% of your donation as a tax credit, visit here.

At the start of the new year, The Barn welcomed 5 new friends! Beezus, Ramona, Thyme, Echo and Bay are part of a 3-generation Nubian goat family from Point Lookout Garden and Farm Life, a non-profit located in Wilmington, DE. Point Lookout Garden and Farm Life started in 2009 by the late Phyllis Wyeth, and has focused over the years in providing a green space, organic vegetables and an educational experience surrounding animal husbandry to youth, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware. We are so excited to have these cuties as part of The Barn at Spring Brook Farm’s programs this year. Be sure to say hi to the crew the next time you visit!


Pictured from left to right: Echo, Thyme, Beezus, Ramona and Bay


Pictured from left to right: Ramona, Bay (mom and son), and Thyme (cousins with Bay)


Thyme being silly and sticking out his tongue!


Here is Echo, who looks almost identical to her mom Beezus (below)


Nan Sharon and Friars at Sweet Charity_2 (1)

Board President, Sharon Cichocki, and Executive Director, Nan Latona, are joined by assorted vegetables from West Chester University of PA on March 28th at the Sweet Charity fundraiser benefiting the Chester County Community Foundation.

Dear Friends,

I hope this email finds you and your family safe and well. All of us at The Barn have been very busy the last three months reconfiguring our programs, developing comprehensive protocols to keep our children, families, volunteers and staff safe, and planning for the future amid vast uncertainly. Who could have imagined the degree to which the world has changed in the last three months?!

I’m writing today to let you know more in detail how we have responded and continue to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, especially now that we’ve entered the “green” phase.

As you’re probably aware, The Barn suspended its Individual Programs and Camp Geronimo. Our annual Spring Fundraiser was held virtually, and staff have been primarily working from home with the exception of Mr. Chris, our Facilities Manager.

We are currently running several no-cost virtual programs that are open to anyone who wishes to participate:

This Monday, June 29, we will finally be welcoming children back to The Barn!  Family Barn Visits are currently open only to our already-engaged families, but we anticipate enrolling new families in this program very soon. Each day one child/household unit under the direct supervision of at least one adult household member will be coached (from a safe distance of 6′) to participate in animal-assisted and outdoor activities.

We are also piloting a virtual Special Summer Session the week of August 3. This program will be limited to 16 children and delivered daily via Zoom so they can see and interact with each other. Each day will feature different activities such as games, music therapy, animal yoga, dance and crafts. Participating children will receive an activity box filled with everything they need to engage in the week’s activities.

(It is possible that Family Barn Visits and Special Sessions will be repeated into the fall provided social distancing restrictions are still in place.)

Save the date for our annual Hoe Down: Saturday, October, 17! This significant fundraising event will look a bit different this year, but be prepared for lots of (safe) fun, festivity and surprises! More information about the Hoe Down is coming soon!

We couldn’t have accomplished all that we did in such a short period of time without the help of several Temple University occupational therapy students assisting with our programs, as well as the diligence of University of Pennsylvania nurse practitioner students who worked tirelessly to create our comprehensive Communicable Disease Policy for Staff, Volunteers, and Participants which is serving as our primary reference resource to aid us in navigating our work at The Barn. (Please note: the link to our policy was recently removed due to ongoing recommendations for best practices requiring our need to continually make updates. Please contact me if you would like the most up-to-date information about The Barn’s Communicable Disease Policy for Staff, Volunteers, and Participants at [email protected].)

Our detailed protocols include:

Moving forward, we will continue to monitor the guidelines and recommendations from the CDC, the Governor’s office, the Chester County Health Department, and other local and national experts and modify our programs and operations as needed to remain as safe as possible.

We look forward to growing the level of connection that makes our Barn community so special. Your encouragement, support, and patience are so appreciated at this time and we truly hope to see you soon!

With warmest regards,

Nan Latona

Dear Friends,

We are facing a truly unprecedented situation. The global coronavirus pandemic is affecting our families, our businesses, our communities and our way of life. During this time, I wanted to reach out and update you on how we’re dealing with this situation at The Barn.

First and foremost, our hearts go out to anyone who’s been impacted by the virus, either directly or indirectly. All of us at The Barn are focused on the health and safety of the children we serve and their families, as well as our animals, staff, volunteers and supporters- not to mention the community at-large.

Mr. Chris continues to come to work at The Barn daily to feed and tend to the animals, assisted by barn helpers Kathy and Alexa who help out on Mr. Chris’s off days. Miss Annie and I are busy working from home; however, we dearly miss the activity of our animals, volunteers and children.

At this time we have suspended our Individual Programs until further notice. Like you, we are tuned-in to the latest updates from our regional, state and national experts, which seem to change by the hour. For this reason we are unable to predict a date when we expect to resume business as usual. We recently made the tough decision to cancel our Spring Fling on April 4 and, although we are full steam ahead with preparations for this summer’s Camp Geronimo, we realize that we must remain flexible depending upon what the future brings.

To keep you and your family connected to life at The Barn, Mr. Chris will be regularly posting images and videos of our critters, so be sure to check Facebook regularly. We will also be live streaming our Baby-doll sheep – Sam and Samantha – as they get their spring haircuts! Again, we’ll be sure to announce this on Facebook ahead of time so you can tune in to watch.

Today reminds us that we’re all connected like never before. We’re called upon to be our best selves, with patience, understanding and compassion. All of us at The Barn are persevering right along with you at this challenging time. We’ll get through this together.

As we go forward, we’ll be sure to keep you updated, and know that we always value your questions, ideas and feedback.

Stay safe and well,

Nan Latona

Executive Director

 Thank you to the First Crew team who selflessly gave up their Saturday on June 8 to make improvements to The Barn’s exteriors. Just in time for the start of Camp Geronimo, First Crew installed new handrails along the ramps leading to the Tree House and the barn and put new tops and seats on picnic tables.

We had blast at our annual summer socialization event on July 13th. We loved seeing new and returning families enjoying the festivities. Summer Splash was packed full of fun activities like face painting, a music station, a photo booth, and of course water games.  As always, a big thank you to all of the excellent volunteers that helped pull the event together. And a shout out to the Temple University students for their creativity and compassion in designing the activities. We’re counting down the days until our next socialization event on November 2nd,2019. Save the date for our Autumn Festival!





Heather Carlino has been recognized as a 2019 Healthcare Hero by Mainline Today. “By day, Heather Carlino is a clinical lecturer at Penn’s pediatric acute care nurse practitioner program. Her other passion is Spring Brook Farm, a West Chester-based nonprofit that provides animal therapy and other activities for kids ages 6-12 with autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome and other special needs. Read the article here.