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Grace Children’s Home New Equine Therapy Program

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Written by Brandi Clement

Grace Children’s Home has always been on the lookout for various ways to support and assist children and families who are involved in foster care.

Recently, Director Mark Danielson has been doing research in hopes to implement an Equine Therapy Program to assist the foster and adoptive families. Children who grow up in the foster care system often have disorders ranging from Oppositional Defiant Disorder to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder because of the abuse they’ve faced in their life. With the help of the Equine Therapy Program, Grace Children’s Home will help teach their children that they can overcome anything that comes their way.

Mark Danielson explained, “Horses tend to mirror the people they are with. They show you right away how you are acting; they don’t fake it like we do. If you extend trust and respect towards an animal, it’ll reciprocate to you.” Each therapy program will be tailored to a child’s individual need, coming with a program manual with exercises for the child to do with the horse. Ultimately, the Equine Therapy Program will help the child with attachment, self-regulation and awareness, patience, control, and trust.

Property purchased by Grace Children’s Home for the Equine Therapy Program.

Implementing this new form of therapy wouldn’t be possible without the gracious donations from the community. Grace Children’s Home has been working tirelessly to get this program up and running. As of right now, they have purchased a three-acre arena on Walnut Street, formally known as Range Wranglers 4-H Club. They are currently renovating the facility, constructing a fence, and anticipate building a farm for the horses in the weeks to come. The Equine Therapy Program will have four horses in residence with other horses from the surrounding area rotated in. Mark shared, “We will realistically serve 15-20 children twice a week. It’s neat to see the interest of the community, and we really hope to involve the public.”

In addition to the new Equine Therapy Program, Grace Children’s Home has two families moving to Henderson to become intensive foster care parents. There is a high demand for intensive foster care parents to take in teenage children, those of whom have more displacements and are more afraid of attaching. Grace Children’s Home will bring the intensive foster care parents to Henderson, allowing them to live in the homes Grace owns, while granting them a high level of support. By providing this aid, it will then decrease the likelihood that children will be removed, thus preserving placements. Statistics have shown that the longer the child is in a good, healthy home, the more likely they will succeed in their future.

Bob and Donna Sloma
Paul and Deb Daly

Bob and Donna Sloma, originally of Maine, will be moving to town June 11. The Sloma’s are former missionaries in Alaska. In addition to mission work, Bob has a background in law enforcement and will assist in maintenance work and promotion of Grace.

The other family is Paul and Deb Daly from Hyannis, Nebraska. They will move to Henderson on June 15. The Daly family will assist with parenting and building the grounds for the new Equine Program. Paul comes from a ranch background, and Deb will teach in Grand Island at Starr Elementary School.

If you have any questions regarding the new Equine Therapy Program, want to get involved by refurbishing the horse arena or by getting to know the new families moving to town, please contact Mark Danielson by email at mark@gracechildrenshome.com.

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