MAKE A DIFFERENCE: New charity fosters relationships between young people, horses

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

You may know her as the owner of Mudlick Tap House in downtown Dayton.

But Jennifer Dean is also the co-founder, along with Kathy Corbett, of a new Miami Valley nonprofit we’re introducing today.

It’s called HoofPrints and the mission is to transform lives through the unique relationship between horses and humans that can foster physical, emotional, and behavioral growth through equine-assisted activities.

“Our certified equine specialists collaborate with mental health professionals to utilize our equine partners to facilitate experiential learning and counseling,” Dean explains. “We strive to teach valuable lessons that extend beyond the barn with our equine co-facilitators!”

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Dean says with mental health issues on the rise, children and teens need support now more than ever. “Prior to the pandemic, the CDC estimated that one in five children had a mental health disorder but only 20 percent of them had access to treatment,” she says. “Since the start of the pandemic, surveys have found significant increases in youth mental health difficulties. In one study, 71 percent of parents said the pandemic has worsened their child’s mental health, and 30 percent of teens in another study reported feeling unhappy and depressed more often.

The stigma with traditional talk therapy, says Dean, often creates barriers for those in need of support. “By offering a unique experiential option, those that are suffering are able to break down those barriers and access the support they need through non-traditional methods,” she says. “There is increasing recognition and integration of equine-assisted therapy in the traditional mental health field. Equine assisted activities can help clients with depression, anxiety, ADHD, conduct disorders, addiction, trauma, eating disorders, spectrum and health difficulties, dissociative disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other mental health difficulties.”

Why is this program different?

Many equine-assisted programs provide recreational adaptive riding for those with diagnosed physical and cognitive disabilities, says Dean. “Their aim is to improve physical strength and balance through riding skills. Hoofprints creates a space for learning and personal growth by partnering with our equine partners, licensed mental health professionals, and equine specialists, who incorporate equine-assisted learning to our clients as an adjunctive offering to their other therapies.”

The nonprofit is located in Centerville on a 23-acre private facility,

Here’s what they need:

  • Plastic Safety Barrier Yellow Chain
  • Obstacle Course Ring Set
  • Traffic Cones
  • Dry Erase Board
  • Dry Erase lap Boards
  • Dry Erase Markers and Erasers
  • Equine Lead Ropes
  • Equine Grooming Kits
  • Gift Cards: Amazon, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Wal-Mart

Items may be dropped off from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday at Mudlick Tap House, 135 E. Second Street, You can also schedule a drop-off or pick-up appointment by writing to Dean at: jdean@hoofprintsohio.org. For more information, check out the website at www.hoofprintsohio.org.

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Can your organization use napkins?

A reader has written to say her church has 500 cloth napkins it would be happy to donate to a good cause.

The dinner napkins measure 20″ by 20″ and are mostly bright yellow. Some are green, but not a Christmas green.

“Most of these are brand new,” she writes. “We do not need them and are hoping someone in Miami Valley could use them.” If your group is interested, contact Judy: jdhsm@aol.com.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith: meredith.moss@coxinc.com.

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.

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