Three deserving equine charities were selected by random draw as the winners of the 2015 Win A Grant program thanks to the dedication of three volunteers and Ariat International, the sponsor of the EQUUS Foundation Champions volunteer program.
Individuals who volunteer a minimum of 24 hours in a year for an equine charity on the EQUUS Foundation Equine Welfare Network are recognized as Champions and automatically entered into a drawing where the winners have the opportunity to select their charities to receive an EQUUS Foundation grant. Thanks also to Ariat, each of the individual winners receive a $250 Gift Card towards any Ariat boots (tall boots, paddock boots, barn boots, endurance boots).
Out Side In & Champion Janet Jacobs
Grand Haven, MI
Established in 2010 as an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) facility serving a handful of children with borrowed horses, today, Out Side In provides over 120 hours of therapy each month to families throughout West Michigan, including veterans, and is home to 16 rescued "off the track" thoroughbreds, which are retrained by volunteers and repurposed into new lives as cherished therapy partners.
Out Side In specializes in therapy services for those suffering from the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sexual abuse and domestic violence and is widely known as the facility-of-choice for treatment resistant individuals who have unsuccessfully sought other methods of dealing with their mental or emotional concerns.
Over 25 volunteers assist with the day-to-day operations and horse care. Among them is Janet Jacobs, who, at age 60, yearning to return to her life-long passion for horses and their welfare, discovered Out Side In. Not only does she assist with day-to-day operations, but as Director of Philanthropy and Volunteer Services at Mercy Health in Muskegon, Jan uses her professional skills as the charity's president. She successfully led the effort to launch, "Bringing the Out Side In", a capital campaign to build a larger indoor arena to house their at-capacity therapy programs and their many equine friends. Ground breaking for the new facility is scheduled for this September.
"I have always been kidded about being a rescuer," Jan says, "but I could not be more personally fulfilled by helping to transition horses from their lives at the race track to their new lives as therapy horses, and, in turn, helping those who are struggling to find hope and healing. What a wonderful way to pay it forward."
Horses Healing Humans (HHH)
& Champion Any D. Bodelin
Horses Healing Humans exists to help people of all ages and abilities with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges through Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT).
Established in 2011, Any has been a key volunteer since the first year and "Mom" to its first Therapy Horse, Ruby (UC Broadway Show).
Signature programs at Horses Healing Humans are W.I.T.'s End (Women in Transition) and Equine Services for Heroes (US Veterans/ Wounded Warriors) as well as traditional TR, EFP and EAL programs for children and adults.
"Life circumstances brought horses back into my life after a very long hiatus. Horses are just so very good for the soul. It feels like I am reliving my childhood. I can't imagine a better way to spend my free time, said Any.
Equicenter & Champion Laura Dustin
Honeoye Falls NY
"I believe 'everything happens for a reason'", said Laura Dustin. In April 2012, as Laura prepared to retire after 27 years as a physics and chemistry teacher, she read a story in the Sunday paper about Equicenter. My friend laughed when I mentioned the story to her. She was a volunteer there. Before I knew it, she had me in their barn, and I have been a volunteer ever since."
Founded in 2005, EquiCenter, a PATH International Premier Accredited Center, strives to foster the personal growth and individual achievement of people with disabilities, at-risk youth, veterans, and their families using a wide range of therapeutic equestrian programs.
Laura had never really worked with horses, but, she said, "the staff taught me so much about caring for these special, patient animals, and they continue to help me learn how best to work with both rider and horse."
"I could not have asked for a better retirement. I am often asked how did I fall in love with the EquiCenter. How could I not? In every lesson I see amazing interactions between people and horses - and there is nothing like seeing a rider's great big smile or watching them hug their horse."
"What better reason could there be for volunteering? Except maybe more smiles, hugs, and more horse kisses all around."
CHAMPIONS is the EQUUS Foundation's incentive-based equine service volunteer program sponsored by Ariat International to recognize and reward individuals and organizations on the Equine Welfare Network.
It's easy to become a CHAMPION, an individual must log a minimum of 24 volunteer hours from January 1st to December 31st. The volunteer hours will be verified by the organization and the EQUUS Foundation.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CHAMPIONS!
About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, enabling the therapeutic use of horses for those in need, fostering the horse-human bond, and educating the public about the horse's unique ability to empower, teach and heal. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.
About Ariat International: Ariat International, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of innovative performance equestrian footwear, apparel and belts. Featuring a patented technology designed to deliver stability, durability and comfort, Ariat pioneered the application of advanced athletic shoe technology into English riding boots and authentic Western boots. Ariat products are sold in a network of retail outlets throughout the world. For more information about Ariat products or for the Ariat retailer nearest you, contact Ariat at 800.899.8141 or visit www.ariat.com.