A Message From Our President
I’d like to share with you the origins of Hooves with Heart. Over the past decade, I have witnessed our young people losing their sense of value and purpose. I have also seen my own teens struggle to find their special place in the world. There is no question that support from home and the unconditional love from their animals, particularly my daughter Maggie’s horse, gave them a ‘leg up’ in finding purpose in life.
Today, one in five youth is diagnosed as “at risk” and this trend is reaching epidemic proportions in our communities. Experts attribute this to a variety of factors including media influence, learning challenges, poverty, substance abuse, and unstable family environments. As a parent, I feel growing alarm because I know these teens are our future.
Through watching my daughter with her peers and horses, I have seen an alternative– youth who are great leaders, good students and making smart choices. And I recognized a connection. Horses are good for teens. Taking young people at one of the riskiest stages of life, and pairing them with a horse, encourages leadership. Anyone who has worked with horses knows they will only be led by a competent leader. Youth must become leaders and the lessons they learn become a marvelous bridge to life.
I also see some of the struggles teens experience in our modern society. Technology, while exciting, is also demanding. Authentic connections to people, animals, and nature are being abandoned, replaced instead by social media interactions, texting and gaming. Recently, an article in The New York Times described Silicon Valley parents who are sending their elementary-school age children to experiential schools to re-connect with nature. Something clicked. It’s why I am passionate about offering teens a similar experience; the chance to rediscover themselves through horses, animals and nature.
Hooves with Heart was born for this purpose. We have an exceptional team of people building programs that make a difference. Through our partnerships with local organizations and families, and with support from generous donors, we are teaching youth how to lead and make positive life choices. I hope you will join us in supporting this mission. If you’d like to learn more, please visit our farm to see us at work. A farm experience is good for everyone and as my own daughter tells me, I have become a better parent now that I have a horse.
Board President, Hooves with Heart