LUTHER, Okla. (KFOR) – If you have a high school student who loves animals, this may be the perfect opportunity for them.

Oliver and Friends, a local farm sanctuary is offering an educational program in which kids can learn to care for animals and grow plant-based foods.

“We’re home to just under 150 animals, all species,” said Jennie Hays, founder of Oliver and Friends Farm Sanctuary. “We do a lot of special needs animal rescue because typically you can’t really save a farm-type animal unless they’re born with some type of deformity or an illness.”

Oliver and Friends educational program. Image KFOR.
Oliver and Friends educational program. Image KFOR.

Jennie Hays has been saving lives of all kinds for years at ‘Oliver and Friends Farm Sanctuary’ in Luther where they can happily live out their lives.

Hays says, ironically, it’s the animals who’ve saved her.

“I think spending time with them can literally be life-changing,” Hays said. 

Now, she’s giving local high schoolers the opportunity to experience farm life first-hand through  “LEAP”, which stands for “Leaders for Ethics, Animals and the Planet.”

The new nationwide program includes both hands-on work and classroom curriculum.

“Planting seeds, growing crops, we have a garden that we’ll work in come next spring,” Hays said. “So we’ll have some cooking classes of plant-based recipes.

How to care for animals, enrichment for animals, basic husbandry, how to work with special needs animals. We’ll have special guest speakers like veterinarians.”

While it is fun to be with all the adorable and sweet animals, the kids will also learn the value of hard work.

“A lot of animal care has to do with poop, animals poop!” Hays said. “So cleaning, caring for them, feeding them, we’ll cover all of these sorts of things – but just with the idea in mind that we’re taking care of these animals in a mutually respectful way. These animals are safe.”

If the students take away anything from it, Hays hopes it’s a new appreciation for four-legged, hoofed and feathered friends.

“I hope kids can take away just an open mind that there’s more than one way to live and there’s more than one way to have a relationship with animals,” Hays said.

If you’d like more information on Oliver and Friends, or to sign up, you can visit

Sign ups begin August 25 and run through September 23.