WHO WE SERVE

Trauma victims (youth and adults)

Youth suspended from school 180 days

Alzheimer and Dementia community members

Corporate and professional groups (team building)

School groups (character and leadership development)

Individuals 1-on-1 and group sessions

Individuals and groups (through 1 day retreats)

Respite youth ages 5-14 and human traffic survivors

HORSES HELPING IMPACT THE
GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY

We are a farm in the city that makes quality evidence based horse therapy services available to the under-served. Addressing the needs of the community through multiple programs and partnerships

Our most critical work is with at-risk clients referred to us by outside agencies throughout West Michigan. These clients have troubled histories: abuse, sex trafficking, addiction challenges, low self-worth, behavoral, and identity issues. We also provide a safe place for those experiencing grief, depression, PTSD, anxiety, trauma victims, Alzheimers/Dementia and many more.

WHAT

Our experiential programs are on-ground and interactive through a variety of non-riding activities. All programs are facilitated by equine specialists, professional coaches, and therapists who process activities with participants.

HOW

Using dialog, observation, and open-ended questions, clients discover perceptions and mental processes behind their beliefs and actions. Horses help people tell their story and find their own solutions in a non-judgemental, emotionally safe place.

IMPACT

Our programs take place in the barn, arena or pasture using the unique interaction with horses. Sessions build upon each other to create new neural pathways for dealing with real life situations by engaging in critical thinking, communication, decision making and self awareness.

ERICA'S STORY

My first experience with EAD was a team building activity with a large group at work. When reaching out to EAD, we focused on building trust and relationships while learning to work together as one team. What I discovered at EAD was so much more than that. The work that EAD does is life changing. Even a few hours with Deb and her team makes a difference. I can attest to this first hand. When I stepped into that arena, I discovered something inside myself as the horses came up to me. The horses were speaking to me. I felt uneasy, uncomfortable, and scared. But, I had to lead the group I was with and find a way to push through it. On my way home, I had to ask myself why was I scared? I have always loved horses, been horseback riding several times and even gone to horse camp when I was younger. Then I had a realization, I was in an unhealthy relationship. I knew my relationship was not good for me, but until that point, I did not know how abusive and toxic it was. That’s when I was able to start getting help and reached out to the center for women in transition.

 

Fast forward, it’s been 2 years and I am now back volunteering with Deb. The team building activity was a huge success at my previous employer, the team came back as a more cohesive unit and I came back stronger than ever over time.  As I was looking for ways to share my talents, strengths and stories, I kept being brought back to EAD, so I prayed on it for a couple of months and contacted Deb. I have been volunteering with the kids respite program, each week we see small but impactful changes in the children much like I saw in myself that day I spent a few hours at EAD. The children get the opportunity to be brave, build confidence, trust themselves, show discipline, have fun and do things they never thought they would be able to do. They are proud of the work they are doing each week and it is exciting to see how much they continue to grow in themselves.  

- Erica Herbig

© 2019 by Equine Assisted Development of the Great Lakes (EAD). Section 501(c)(3) charitable organization

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