Flameless Candlelight Walk in the Woods Fundraiser
HeartStrides is raising money to support our programs for at-risk youth and veterans! We have a waitlist of veterans and military personnel who want to take part in our programs, and youth who would like to come to the ranch on an on-going basis to continue to receive peer support. We would like to continue to provide services to our participants and expand our programs to serve those currently on waitlists.
About HeartStrides Therapeutic Horsemanship
Founded in 2010, HeartStrides Therapeutic Horsemanship is a non-profit organization that partners humans with horses for transformative experiences that strengthen, develop, and improve lives. Using Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) we fulfill our mission to integrate the principles of horsemanship with research-based learning during interactive experiences with horses in order to improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.
HeartStrides currently provides on-going programs along with a variety of weekend intensives, courses, and one-on-one opportunities. Our current programs:
Equine Assisted Peer Support Youth Program (EAYPS): In partnership with Thurston County Juvenile Court, we created a new program that was incorporated into their annual budget. The EAYPS program is a therapeutic early intervention recovery-based 6-week course. It is offered through a partnership with the Thurston County Juvenile Court to accept referrals of youth (ages 11-17) who are receiving services through any civil or offender programs and have demonstrated symptoms of mental illness and/or substance use. During sessions, the adolescents work through a curriculum that is designed around twelve core values which are learned metaphorically through interactions with the horse. By gaining the trust of a horse, a connective bond occurs naturally, giving the youth a unique and authentic baseline for what a healthy relationship entails and feels like. EAYPS outcomes show vast improvements in CANS scores. With nearly three years of data, we have seen an 82% reduction in mood disturbance, a 68% reduction in anxiety, a 90% reduction in suicide risk, and a 77% reduction in substance use.
Operation THRIVE: Operation THRIVE is a three-day weekend intensive course that is offered to active duty and veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS). During the first day, participants are encouraged to invite their families to the ranch to share dinner and learn about the basics of horsemanship. The next two days provide our participants to work directly with the horse to develop a partnership based on mutual respect and shared goals. Because individuals with PTS often have difficulty trusting and feeling a connection with others, partnering with the horses allows them to effectively break down barriers encountered with traditional approaches of counseling and PTSD programs.
The Next Mission: Our Next Mission program is a 6-week course that uses Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT), certified peer counselors and equine peer supports to teach veterans and active duty military personnel positive development and core values that will help them overcome barriers and promote healthy behavior. The curriculum includes activities that promote self-esteem, self-worth, emotional maturity, and positive and healthy communication skills. The program is designed to meet the needs of veterans and active duty military who face challenges with mental health, behavioral issues, substance use or post-traumatic stress.