We asked a local school counselor, why she brings students to our program, this is her response:
The reason I choose to work with Unbridled Spirit are many. The farm is in easy access to our school. This is important as I have responsibility of the students until I return them to school. Unbridled Spirit is in a beautiful location, a simple old farm that has charm and helps families of all economic strata to feel at home. One less barrier for families encountering homelessness and less privileged housing.
The children are excited about the variety of animals and want to greet them all. The horses are beautiful and well taken care of and every child has fallen in love with one of the horses. After a long summer one student and another one after one year said, “I want to see Obi?”
I like the check-in and value contract, the number of adults to one child and horse, the lessons on communication, trust, love. Every lesson the children groom the horses and experience reduction of anxiety and high emotions due to the patient encounter with their horse friends. Children present differently each week and are allowed to feel their emotions. Should they choose to work with a small animal one week, they are allowed to do so at the same time encouraged to step over their feelings of reluctance.
The pace is right with enough challenges and new experiences that empower our students. I love the easy access to services. Sonja Wingard and her team helped me with so many crises’ moments and stepped up for our students and families with extra lessons and one-on-one sessions, sibling counseling. The team encourages the families to participate three times a quarter in the horse lessons to help facilitate family communication. Young children are dependent on their families. Unbridled Spirit welcomes our families with love, compassion, and sensitivity and earns the families trust for the past ten years of my school carrier.
Every time we visit Unbridled Spirit we leave in a better mood. Something that we may not have even realized was bothering us, surfaced and we were able to work it out as a family. The horses have a real way of ratting you out! This is a blessing as it really helps you discover things that are going on and how you can move forward. They have a way of knowing just what you need. It has been such a blessing for my family.
Working at the farm has taught me how to find little miracles, how to trust people and animals to know what needs to happen, that the best lessons can be unexpected, and that things don't need to be perfect to be wonderful.
“This farm is a safe haven for people of other lands.”
(referring to the people working and volunteering here at Windy Acres Farm of African, Native American , Hispanic, Indian, Chinese, Lebanese and herself, Puerto Rican, ancestry/blood)
I was more than a case or statistic, more than a suicidal teen. Sonja and the horses saw me for me.