Thank you, Jenna & Kirsten

March 29, 2024

As we approach the end of the spring season, we take a moment to spotlight two exceptional individuals whose hard work and creativity have left an extraordinary mark on Candlelight Ranch: our spring interns, Jenna Lipscomb, and Kirsten Pechacek.

Jenna Lipscomb, a Doctor of Occupational Health student from UT Health San Antonio, brought our team a burst of energy and innovation through her capstone project. Jenna’s focus on garden exploration allows children to bring all their senses to life in an immersive, educational, and exciting experience.

In her time with us, Jenna has led interactive activities, allowing children to engage profoundly and meaningfully with nature. Through exploring herbs, vegetables, and fruits, children gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of where their food comes from. One activity, edible art, has proven to be a highlight of the program. Children can unleash their creativity by crafting art pieces from items harvested directly from the garden.

A moment that stands out amidst Jenna’s internship is the touching encounter with a young boy who clung to a piece of kale throughout the day, determined to take it home to his mother. This simple act of affection speaks volumes about the profound impact of Jenna’s work in connecting children with the natural world.

Kirsten Pechacek, also a Doctor of Occupational Health student from UT Health San Antonio, has brought our team a wealth of empathy and insight. She channeled her passion for occupational therapy into a transformative capstone project focused on social-emotional skill development.

Candlelight Ranch’s Outdoor Explorers program is designed to empower special needs youth by connecting them with the wonders of nature while enhancing social and emotional skills. Kirsten’s capstone project has immensely contributed to the program through experiences that foster emotional intelligence and interpersonal connections. Some lessons from Kirsten’s curriculum include sharing with others, understanding emotions, strategies to relax the body, respecting personal boundaries, and working together as a team. From her interactive discussions to nature-based activities that reinforce these skills, Kirsten’s dedication to nurturing growth shines through.

One special moment encompasses Kirsten’s impact: a young boy’s gesture of kindness, gifting Kirsten a beautiful rock he had saved just for her. This heartwarming act is a powerful reminder of the ripple effects of kindness and the importance of fostering a supportive and nurturing environment.

We extend our deepest gratitude to Jenna Lipscomb and Kirsten Pechacek for their invaluable contributions to Candlelight Ranch. Through their dedication and creativity, they have touched the lives of many with their compassion. As they embark on the next chapters of their journey, we wish them continued success and fulfillment, knowing they will continue to make a positive impact wherever they go.