A nonprofit that promotes hope and healing for children through equine therapy is looking for more helping hands. Hope Reins of Raleigh is beginning 2016 with an active drive to find more volunteers.
The Roundup for Ranch Hands is designed to showcase volunteer opportunities at Hope Reins, especially now that the program has settled into its new 33-acre home on N.C. 98.
Hope Reins was founded in 2010 as a program that brings healing and comfort to hurting children through one-on-one relationships with special human and equine counselors. Many of the horses used in the program were rescued from abuse and neglect. The children who spend time with these horses may have been neglected or abused themselves or are struggling with trauma, anxiety or chronic illness.
The new acreage for Hope Reins was a former cattle farm that the group purchased with a 40-year low-interest $1 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We were not looking for this place, it came looking for us,” said Kim Tschirret, founder and CEO of Hope Reins. “We were really just looking for a piece of dirt to move to and start over.”
The property has a 4,000-square-foot log cabin that was built in British Columbia and shipped to North Carolina, as well as two stocked ponds and a wooded trail. Plans in the year ahead include adding a community garden, horse trails and a covered arena.
Tschirret hopes to expand the program in its larger space, exceeding last year’s 1,000 sessions with children and horses by 20 or 30 percent. That is going to take volunteers of all kinds and all ages doing tasks with or without the horses. Ranch hands are needed for things from administrative support to playing with siblings of children in the program and assisting families in different ways.
“We really minister to the whole family, so mom, dad or legal guardian are required to be there. They are part of the healing process,” Tschirret said. “Listeners sit with parents and listen. Our families tell us often they don’t have anyone to talk to. They are so wrapped up in whatever is going on with their child. That is a huge part of our ministry for them to have an outlet and a place for them to sit and be heard.”
Volunteers are also needed every Saturday morning to help with barn chores that are followed by a tour. Financial support is also welcome because Hope Reins sessions are free of charge.
“So many of our families are paying so much for doctor visits and therapy and all these other things their kids are experiencing, so it is a real blessing for them that they don’t have to pay for it,” Tschirret said.
Tschirret founded this ministry because she knew how special her relationship was with her horse during her own troubled childhood.
“I had no hope when I was a kid, we had no faith,” she said. “Here we are sharing the Gospel and that’s where true hope and real healing comes from. Had I had somebody who shared that with me or had the opportunity when I was going through the abuse I went through, I hope I would have made a lot of better choices later in my life.”
She said her own personal journey continues.
“God is still working on me through a horse today. I grew up riding Saddlebreds professionally and I hated it because all I wanted to do was have the relationship with my horse but it was something my dad wanted me to do,” Tschirret said. “Last year we rescued a Saddlebred that I have been training for the past year. She’s never been anywhere she was safe, she was very abused, and it has taken a year to get us to build this relationship. It has furthered my faith walk today.”
That faith walk includes plans to touch the lives of more children, their families and the horses.
“God has given me the opportunity and the privilege to work in this ministry where he has redeemed my story,” Tschirret said. “He has taken all my past and all that stuff that has happened and is using that to help other kids in similar situations.”
For information about volunteer opportunities at Hope Reins, go to hopereinsraleigh.org.
Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus each week. Email her with details of upcoming events at email@example.com.