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Proposal Writing: Letter of Inquiry

Horses Healing Hands has been providing critical services for children of trauma as well as horses in need of rescue. Last year 62 children successfully completed the program and 87 horses have been placed as therapy horses or into private homes. Our program provides important therapy services to families who cannot afford intensive treatment in addition to rescuing unwanted horses. Our project will add an educational component to our program, helping these youth connect hands-on experience with classroom learning. This effort is intended to increase learning and graduation rates among these youth, for the betterment of the community. Our project is asking for a grant of $25,000 to be used towards the creation of a specialized curriculum, and for the training of staff and volunteers.


The Issue: Child survivors of trauma are all around us. Severe bullying, physical and emotional abuse, instability within the foster system, survivors of accidents- often these children are provided the bare minimum of care, and little to no emotional skill building. Historically, children who have suffered trauma do not have comparable success rates to similar children who have not experienced trauma. Children in higher income situations often have more access to intensive therapy, while those from low income and predominantly minority communities do not. Additionally, there is often a stigma around therapy which our program addresses by offering activities focused on horses, not overt therapy. These activities are designed to increase confidence, reduce fear, improve self-worth, and provide skills that are transferable to other areas of life. Our project seeks to expand on the services we currently provide by bridging educational gaps that children survivors of trauma can face.


Project Activity: In order to accomplish our goal, we intend to put a specially designed curriculum in place. Once the children feel they are in a safe space, the program will introduce grade-appropriate educational links to the hands-on work they are performing. Using colorful and often entertaining information and activities the students will reinforce what they are learning in the classroom. School is often a place of anxiety for youth affected by trauma; mental and emotional blocks often prevent the absorption of difficult material. Since the vast majority of these children thrive on the farm, we feel this program will increase learning retention and help them learn what they are missing at school.


This project is supervised by Program Director Dr. Patricia Miller and implemented through our network of carefully screened volunteers, many of whom are child psychology, pediatric nursing, psychiatry, and teaching students who intend to be professionals in the fields involving children. These volunteers, as well as the few staff members who oversee the children, will attend specialized, repeatable training with regards to the curriculum aspect.


Outcomes: Children, their applicable family members, social workers, and other caregivers are surveyed as a part of the program enrollment process. For this new component, the child’s teacher(s) and school counselor (if applicable) are also provided a survey regarding the status of behavior, grades, and classroom participation. Surveys are then resent at the end of unit intervals to see if any improvement is noticed. Participants in this program are often asked to share during informal group meetings, questions about learning will be incorporated into those meeting as well as during individual lessons and through a website or app.


Credentials: Dr. Patricia Miller is one of less than 5% of psychologists who are board-certified. She has been practicing child psychology and treatment for trauma victims for over 25 years. Dr. Miller has been a part of the program since its inception and created the therapeutic aspect of its design. Executive Director Trina Markeson had the vision for Healing Horses when helping her own child recover from trauma.


Helping Horses works with government agencies for equine rescue, other rescue groups, and has relationships with local businesses and educational facilities to acquire donations and skilled volunteers. Volunteer therapists are very carefully selected and undergo intensive training before allowed to work with the children. All volunteers undergo a State Patrol background check in order to ensure the safety of participants.


Our program has a staff horse trainer who assesses each horse in the program on regular intervals, teaches appropriate skills to the horses, gives lessons, and oversees horse care. Volunteer horse trainers and equine professionals carry out training plans, give lessons, and provide rider evaluations.


Budget: The overall cost of curriculum development, training, and supplies is $32,576. Horses Healing Hands currently has the additional $7,576 in reserve as well as an additional $3,000 for unexpected costs. Beyond the initial investment, the estimated costs to continue the program will add an additional $6,000 to $8,000 per year which is sustainable through donations and fundraisers, including the annual Hoedown for Horses benefit.


Helping Horses is a program with proven results. We appreciate your time and consideration of this request. These children are the future and providing with them skills that will open more doors, skills to get through inevitable tough times, skills to prepare them for future education will only benefit our communities. It would be an honor to submit a full proposal to elaborate on the work we intend to do. I am personally available to answer any questions you may have about Horses Helping Hands or the Helping Horses program.





Trina Markeson, Executive Director 555.2131 ext 210 trinam@horseshealinghands.org



Dr Patricia Miller, Program Director 555.2131 ext 230 pattym@horseshealinghands.org

Prepared by Tiara Nixon, Development Manager tiaran@horseshealinghands.org

Copyright 2019 Tiara C Nixon All Rights Reserved