Stable Moments Mentorship Program
Stable Moments is a mentorship program utilizing equine-assisted learning for children in foster care and children adopted from foster care.
This is a weekly, ten-month program, at the farm. Children who have experienced any history in the child welfare system typically experience developmental trauma. This trauma is due to the nature of their history of being in foster care in addition to whatever they have experienced leading up to being in care (and often beyond, unfortunately).
Trauma experienced during childhood impacts the ability to learn and practice various life essential skills including – self-esteem, responsibility, self-regulation, emotional awareness, healthy relationships, and independence. While trauma is the cause of the lack of skills, this does not dismiss the importance of learning them in order to be productive members of society. The consistency of the mentor and horse provides the stability and safety enabling the child to begin to learn the skills in a unique manner.
Horses are a key element to this program for a few reasons. Horses are herd-bound, prey animals that exist in “fight/flight/freeze” in addition to being extremely intuitive. Horse’s safety solely depends on constantly surveying the environment for danger and reacting based upon this. This is exactly how a child who has experienced trauma operates. Using horses as a part of the mentor team provides an abstract, yet relatable, perspective and model for achieving felt safety. If our brains cannot feel safe, we are unable to develop more critical thinking skills, etc. The animals teach us to feel safe through modeling behavior, we are also gaining the ability to develop the above skills once this is achieved. In addition, horses provide the unique opportunity to receive unconditional love, learn to be in the moment, communicate and exist without judgment, and how to gain/receive mutual respect while displaying appropriate boundaries.
The volunteer mentors are paired with a child and a horse, creating a consistent and unique situation. They utilize activities based upon the child’s individualized plan of care which is created in an initial intake. During the intake, essential life skill deficits are identified, enabling the plan of care and activities to be tailored to what that child needs to learn to be their best selves in society. Each mentor session builds on skills from the previous session and provides the child with not only the skills to become a healthy, functioning member of society – but the hope and belief that they are deserving of it.
You can visit www.stablemoments.com for more information or contact Marcy at Mtocker@greymuzzlemanor.org if you are interested in becoming a mentor, know a child who would benefit from the program, sponsorship opportunities, and more.
If you are interested in mental health services, please visit www.marcytocker.com.
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Grey Muzzle Manor
1164 Blattadahl Road
Mohrsville, PA 19541
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