Coops For Troops: Big Impact from Small Feathered Friends

 

Contributing article from Coops For Troops

Coops For Troops grew out of an idea born during a video shoot in Austin, Texas, for the TV show 'Coop Dreams.' While touring a nursing home, we had the opportunity to observe residents mingle with therapy chickens and see how they came to life as they held and interacted with the chickens. Not only did residents seem to enjoy and respond to the sense of touch, they became more alert and began sharing joyful stories of childhood experiences with chickens.

This incredible encounter led us to learn more about the benefits of chickens in the world of therapy. Research shows that having and keeping chickens makes an immediate positive impact on depression, loneliness, loss of self-worth and isolation. Further research shows that that chicken-keeping positively impacts those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; and from those learnings Coops For Troops was born.  

Initially, we thought the idea would be one segment within each 'Coop Dreams' show on Discovery's Destination America. But the enthusiastic reception of the concept encouraged us to take the leap and launch 'Coops For Troops' as an independent show, which now airs on multiple networks in 2018 (coopsfortroops.org).  

The premise is to make a difference through the power of purpose and connection with therapy chickens. Coops For Troops provides chickens, a coop, a starter pack of feed and supplies to returning veterans, families of deployed military personnel, military schools, VA hospitals and retirement homes. 

Recipients are chosen from nominations submitted by friends and family members. It is our privilege to spend a day with the recipients, learning about their service and heroism, including stories of missions 'outside the wire'; detonating explosive devices; training locals to fight and even beautifying the concrete bunkers on base with art.  

But the sacrifice of these warriors doesn't end when they come home. Many of these heroes have lost a limb or have experienced other life-changing physical injuries. And then there are the hidden wounds ' PTSD, depression, emotional isolation and anger management.

Many of these veterans choose to live on a piece of property in a rural setting, and are looking to find peace and comfort through having space around them and finding comfort through growing a garden, raising animals and leading a simple life.

We are honored and blessed that Troy-Bilt® partners with us on Coops For Troops and participates in helping with the presentation and the recognition for the veterans and their families at select events. In addition to helping with the coop assembly when they are on site, the company has also provided yard care equipment that help our recipients maintain the area around the coop.

It's hard to put into words what a privilege it is to be a part of a project that gives back to those who have given so much. Or to be able to describe the sense of satisfaction when we hear from the recipients about the positive power of chickens in their lives to provide connection, purpose and productivity.

To date, we have presented packages to 10 'Coops For Troops' recipients. These 10 episodes air to over 100,000,000 homes, helping raise awareness of the lingering struggles facing our veterans. You can see the show on Upliftv (DIRECTV), KTV (Dish TV), TuffTV and Youtoo America on cable, as well as many over the air broadcast stations, with more being added monthly.

If you'd like to nominate someone or donate, please visit www.coopsfortroops.org.  

You can watch past episodes on our VOD site - https://vimeo.com/ondemand/coopsfortroops

Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/coopdreams