Yes, we have been the recipient of a grant, as you said. We received $50,000 per year over five years. To break down how that is spent, we have one part-time employee, which takes roughly half the budget, and then the rest goes towards programming.
Our programming includes things like beekeeping. It's perhaps a little-known fact, but beekeeping has been a form of occupational therapy since World War I. In fact, Canadian veterans after the First World War were doing beekeeping as a second career after the military. It has been widely used in the United States as a form of occupational therapy. That's one program we've done. We find that the people who participate in that program find it very rewarding.
In terms of other programs we have, I've mentioned that we have equines. We are moving into equine-assisted therapy. I think a comment was made earlier about service dogs and the power of animals in healing. I think sometimes it is underappreciated how programs like animal-assisted therapy can be useful, because it's a difficult type of program to document efficacy beyond saying, “This helped me” and “I filled out this survey that shows I feel less isolated now.”
Unfortunately, a lot of research follows the model of pharmaceutical research, with a sort of double-blind, placebo-controlled study. That works very well in pharmaceutical studies where you have a placebo that is identical to the drug being given and people don't really know what group they're in. It's much harder to have an appropriate placebo for someone who is in an equine-assisted therapy program because you know if you are in an equine-assisted therapy program.
Going back to some of the questions around research that have been asked, I think it would be extremely valuable to do research and to bring in statistical tools that allow for understanding what's going on, in spite of some of the messiness of the research, in spite of the fact that women and 2SLGBTQ veterans are in the minority and therefore their numbers might be low and in spite of the fact that some of the things people find to be rewarding and healing are difficult to measure and especially difficult to measure in comparison to some kind of control.
We are involved in that kind of research as much as we are able to be, and I think we would very much like to see more of that kind of work being done. We would love to be able to document what we think are effective programs, like gardening and working with animals.