Our recent series of “COSMB Cares” Guides planted a seed in my heart of wanting to find ways to give back beyond volunteering at my children’s school.
What I discovered was an amazing program at Flying Horse Foundation’s Equine Program impacting the lives of our community’s youth as well as other equine programs in the area supporting our community. Let me first touch on a couple of unique programs in our area and then delve more into the work being done at Flying Horse Foundation. They are all great programs that need our help.
Equine Programs in the Region
There are many equine programs across the Pikes Peak Region doing important work. Take a look at these three that offer a wide spectrum of services to the community:
Reigning Hope, is a 501c3 nonprofit organization established to provide therapy programs for special need families in a welcoming, relaxing and supporting country environment. Their mission is to enhance the lives of people with emotional, social, physical and cognitive needs while also offering support and programs for the family and caregivers. Their goal is for participants to take away a renewed sense of personal significance and validation for the important role they play. Be sure and check out the important work they are doing at www.chuckiesplace.org.
Wings Like Eagles, a free camp in Monument that teaches horse vaulting to children. Vaulting is an equestrian sport that involves gymnastics and the elements of dance. To see children conquering their fears and doing acrobatics on horses is rewarding in and of itself but to see them grow in confidence, social skills and goal setting is something so much more. For more information about this special place, see Wings Like Eagles Camp Facebook page.
Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center is another great organization that is healing the invisible wounds of many across the region. Their mission is to significantly improve the well-being of individuals through a connection with horses. They believe that horses and the therapy provided is an essential solution to strong and healthy individuals, families, and communities. The PPTR Center is a national leader in Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) methods. This is a unique and groundbreaking therapeutic model used worldwide as a powerful tool in mental health therapy. For more information, go to www.pptrc.org.
Discovery Of A Need
When I first heard about Flying Horse Foundation’s Equine Program, their need for volunteers and how horses were helping kids across the Front Range heal from loss, family issues, stress, anxiety and other challenging circumstances, I knew I wanted to help.
Having grown up with horses, I instantly understood the impact these horses were having on children.
What you have to know about these gentle and soulful creatures is that they are every bit majestic and kind but secretly possess a hidden “superhuman” power—the uncanny ability to help heal hearts and minds.
I was a bit nervous to reach out to the program. I knew my horsemanship skills were rusty since I hadn’t been around horses in over 20 years.
What I found so comforting is that the Foundation did not require any prior horsemanship skills, only a willingness to learn and offer help.
As it turns out, they have a vast need for a variety of skills well beyond horses.
It was super easy to find a time slot to help as they offer the full gambit of morning, afternoon and evening times as well as Saturdays. They love volunteers who can offer consistency throughout their ongoing 8-week modules, with as little commitment as 2 hours of volunteer time per week. With my busy “mom” schedule, I knew this limited time commitment was right up my alley.
One Child’s Story Holds a Piece of Everyone’s Story
The Foundation’s no-cost service is provided to youth who are referred from service providers in the community which include, schools, group homes, residential programs, vocational training programs, child welfare programs and more.
What all the kids in the equine program have in common is that life has been hard and hope is in short supply.
Each week, trained professionals along with volunteers bring back hope and healing to over 60 children through ongoing teaching modules where the kids learn about communication, boundaries, empathy, relationships, confidence, and so much more, right alongside the horses.
All the skills taught in the equine program are skills that we mothers know a lot about in raising our own children.
“Mom Skills” Are Incredibly Valuable
As moms, we change lives inside the home but we also have an opportunity to make a difference outside our home.
Throughout motherhood, we absorb a tremendous amount of knowledge and acquire a vast skill set in nurturing and caring for children.
We may downplay the skills we have obtained because there is no monetary value associated with these skills but what the world needs now more than ever are our “mom” skills. The Foundation’s Equine Program is no different, they need us moms showing up to help suffering children.
What I have come to learn is that these kids need our strengths and skills that we have gained in motherhood.
Some of these children have never known a mother’s heart and love.
At the very least, if we can somehow extend some of what we have given to our own children, such as an extra smile, a boost of encouragement, a lending ear or a patient presence, we can be a huge part of a child’s healing process.
Each week out at the Ranch, I am reminded over and over again, the real value and worth of my “mom” skills in helping these children.
What They Teach Me
The irony is that when I decided to volunteer, I did it to help the kids.
What I didn’t realize is how they would be the ones helping me.
They have reminded me of the beauty of authenticity, patience, understanding and respect… and so much more.
Every week, I am able to walk away with an invaluable tool that influences my own family for the better.
Mothers Make the Best Volunteers
I now consider this weekly volunteer endeavor some of the most impactful and life-giving hours of the week—making me a more present and intentional mom.
As word about the program has spread, more and more volunteers are needed.
Moms are the perfect volunteers for this program and the Foundation would love to have your help in making a difference in these children’s lives.
For more information about Flying Horse Foundation’s Equine Program or to volunteer, please email: [email protected]. Please include your first and last name in the subject line along with “Volunteer Request.”