Our Campus & Animals

Take a Tour

For a full tour of Eliada, please contact Tami Ruckman, Eliada’s Director of Development truckman@eliada.org or (828) 254-5356 Ext. 306. Tami can show you the length and breadth of Eliada’s 320 acre’s from the comfort of a golf cart.

Eliada Barns

Eliada has a couple beautiful barns on our campus.  Today the Recreation barn houses games, a climbing wall, and space for dance and yoga classes!  Originally the dairy barn, this is a fixture on our campus.  The horse barn is the home for Eliada’s Equine Therapy program.

Eliada’s Animals

Eliada’s Equine Therapy Program provides animal assisted therapeutic activities for high-risk students with behavioral and emotional problems. Our family of animals includes 9 horses, 1 llama, 2 mini-horses, 2 pigs, 2 goats, and many sweet barn cats. Many of our animals come to us with their own trauma histories. At Eliada, they peacefully live while helping children heal.

Therapeutic Animal Service Cooperative (TASC) activities are designed to build emotional awareness, interpersonal skills, self-confidence, ability to focus, impulse and anger control, assertiveness and empathy. Students participate in weekly groups to practice these skills.

A greater awareness of personal feelings may be achieved through caring for the horses. Eliada’s students often form strong relationships with the animals in equine therapy and come to realize the significance of personal connection and responsibility to another living being. Certified Mental Health Clinicians use an Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) approach with our Equine Specialist and provide individual, family, and group therapy with the horses.

The equine therapy staff is knowledgeable and extensively trained in EAP (Equine Assisted Psychotherapy), EAGALA (Equine Assisted Learning and Growth Association), group facilitation, team work and clinical issues.

Campus Farm Program

Eliada’s Campus Farm Progam includes a geodesic grow dome where Eliada staff and youth use hydroponic growing methods to grow lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, herbs, and more! Through the farm, Eliada is:

  • Enhancing and strengthening Eliada’s cradle to career continuum of care through an emphasis on active, experiential education, and focus on building resiliency factors to achieving long-term outcomes for vulnerable youth.
  • Increasing the amount of nutritious food served to children and youth on a daily basis.
  • Strengthening Eliada through sustainability measures that will grow the agency’s revenue and brand recognition in Western North Carolina.

To learn more about the Campus Farm Program and the grow dome, reach out to our Farmer Erica Blumenfeld at eblumenfeld@eliada.org or (828) 348-3387.

Learn more about the Campus Farm and our goal of sustainability

Thank you

Thank you to our partners for their investment in the farm!

Rite Aid Foundation
CarePartners Foundation
Beverly Hanks
Four Seasons Garden Club
Friends of the Earth Garden Club
Appalachian Singlefoot Horse Breed Association
And contributions from many kind individuals!



Eliada Trails

Eliada’s campus also boasts hiking trails for children and youth to enjoy. Mount Slippey has wooded trails, one leading to Eliada’s historic cemetery. Some children and staff who lived at Eliada when the agency was an orphanage, were laid to rest in this beautiful and peaceful perch on campus. Today, alumni and family visit campus to help maintain the grounds around the cemetery. Youth hike on the trails during summer camp, after school activities, and even during therapy sessions.