On a consistent basis we provide Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy and Equine Facilitated Learning to the Yellowstone County Community and beyond.
We never turn anyone away based on their inability to pay. Our mission statement is clear: To provide opportunities for individuals and families to engage, learn and thrive outside of the classroom and traditional therapeutic environments by practicing equine assisted activities.
Our target population specifically for this grant is to provide children from our community with a social skills group who have both social & learning challenges. These kiddos will have diagnoses of Sensory Processing Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, PTSD, Autism, ADHD and others. We constantly are forming partnerships with various organizations that serve this population and struggle to find adequate funds to provide services for their clients that make a profound impact like ours.
To date, we have worked with Children’s Protective Services, Department of Family Services, Drug Court, (parents working to keep or regain custody of their children), Creative Counseling, Cor Enterprises, Benefis, Billings Clinic Foundation, Washington School’s Champions for Children Special Needs Program, Blue Skies Pediatric Therapeutic Services, and Leaf Pediatric Therapy. Although, these organizations are not non for profits per se, they enable us to serve those who could benefit most and can afford it least.
We find groups are quite advantageous for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it is the most cost effective means for our donors to make an impact. Because we implement the EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning) model, we are required to have a licensed therapist, and/or a special education profession and/or an occupational therapist, an equine specialist, a herd of horses at will, (2-4) and an arena. This costs an average of $200 per session. It costs the same $200 to run a session whether there are six kiddos or one. Of course, it makes sense to maximize that $200. In addition, the social interaction and peer feedback increases the benefits to the clients. We focus on self-regulation and social thinking.
Horses are great social thinkers as they are herd animals. For example, if a kiddo is having a tantrum the horses will move away from them, more often than not a child will self regulate themselves in order to interact with the horses. Lastly, it is a great opportunity for a lot of these children to do something social and active with other kids. A basic need that is often not met for this population.
We are asking for $4800 in order to facilitate (4) social thinking groups of 4-6 kiddos, once a week for 6 weeks, total of 24 sessions for 16- 24 kids. Group sizes vary as we try to have cohesive therapeutic goals for each group. It should be noted that there is a ripple effect beyond the 4-6 children that attend a Social Skills Group with Chinook Horses. There are testimonials of parents enjoying improved communications and educators seeing better social behaviors which can effect entire classrooms with the children that have attended out program.
Nothing has changed but we have increased the number of clients served threefold since our 2017 application. Last year we ran a total of 13 equine assisted activity groups for the children of this region.
We hope to replicate and even increase that number this year.Please Give Today