Thanks to the generosity of the Thompson Family Foundation, High Hopes was able to offer a new program this summer, especially for the children of veterans and service members and it was a huge success!
Children of veterans are a population generally underserved by traditional veterans programs, which tend to focus more on the service member and their spouse or partner. We wanted to create a program that focussed on character building, emotional regulation, team building and communications. While some of the participants had ridden before; none had experienced the learning, confidence building and self-esteem that can come from caring for and working with a horse in the barn.
The bond participants developed with their horses provided a low-key and trusting environment in which they could share their experiences of parents being deployed, or returning from deployment. All our participants and many parents commented on how important it was that everyone in the program “was in the same boat,” with shared experiences and shared emotions; something that is not the case in educational settings.
Crafts were designed to be taken home and shared with parents, in some cases resulting in conversations that had not previously been had. We also provided lots of photographs that could be sent to parents who were on deployment.
Within a few hours of promoting this program it was full and with a large waiting list. With the help of our supporters like you, High Hopes will continue to develop programs for what is clearly an unmet need.