Volunteer Spotlight: Joyce

I have been with Mahala’s Hope from the beginning … even before it was Mahala’s Hope. I came because of my love of horses, wanting to be of service, and wanting to support my sister in her work. I’m retired so I can do what I love!

I have seen participants come to the group with fear, low self-esteem, and no confidence in themselves. After going through the process of working with the horses, they become much more confident and self-assured.

Horses are great teachers of setting boundaries, of being in the present, and of being congruent, teaching participants about communication and team work.

A time I will never forget is when one of the horses wrapped his head gently around the participant’s shoulders – the connection between them was profound. Certainly a tearful moment for me. Everyone comes to the program with different issues. No matter what, our horses will be there in the present to help them overcome those issues.

It is so special to be a witness to someone in the program with a “tough” exterior in the beginning, and by the end see a gentleness begin to come through. I believe there is gentleness in all of us and horses can bring that out. I notice this especially with adolescent programs. I get a deep sense of satisfaction knowing I may have had just a small part in helping our participants.

I myself have learned I needed help with setting boundaries, and Morning Star has been my teacher in that.

Horses have so much to offer. To be in their presence grooming and talking to them is a connection I love.

The feel of a horse, the sweet smell of their breath … what more could I ask for? The staff is very helpful and appreciative of what we do. I could not ask for a better place to volunteer.