"Mutual care and devotion result in emotional healing for both child and animal."
Children and youth with special needs develop self-esteem and other life skills by interacting with horses at the Pocono Equestrian Center, which rescues the animals from neglect and abuse.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Beverly: The Pocono Equestrian Center is dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth in need through working with horses rescued from neglect and abuse. The experience of interacting in a safe, loving environment with horses we have rehabilitated and trained brings heightened self-esteem and a sense of personal accomplishment to each participant. Mutual care and devotion result in emotional healing for both child and animal.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Beverly: Pocono Equestrian Center, Scranton, PA.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefited from this work.
Beverly: Children who are at-risk, poor, youth groups, have terminal illness, Tourette's syndrome, cancer, autism, etc. Also, the horses that we obtain are evaluated to see if they would fit into our programs.
What inspired you to get involved?
Beverly: My love for horses and children. It is emotionally and physically therapeutic for both the children and horses.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
Beverly: I had taught children for many years and trained my own horses. I wanted to give something back to the community and give the children a chance to enjoy and learn how to safely work with horses.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Beverly: SMILES that these children may not do a lot of. Also to see their self-esteem escalate, which carries through their daily lives.
What is/was the hardest part?
Beverly: The hardest part is obtaining grants when I also work a full time job and have a husband and 5-year-old to tend to. I hope to be doing this full time. Also, not having our own farm is hurting us with a few goals that we would like to accomplish. We are boarding our horses, which is frustrating because you have to work around other people's schedules.
What was the biggest surprise?
Beverly: Through the research that I have done, there are a lot of children who really could use this type of organization. Most of the organizations are for physically handicapped, and there isn't much for the emotionally handicapped, but we hope to do something in the future for the physically handicapped when we obtain our own farm.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Beverly: I met this one little girl with a smile as long as a rainbow, who didn't stop smiling. She is terminally ill. She had the time of her life and mustered all of the energy that she had to ride a horse and be a part of our program. You couldn't tell that anything was wrong with this child. What a wonderful little girl! She put a smile on my face.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Beverly: Do it! The more people who find out what we are doing, the more they want to jump in and help.
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