Sunday, October 27, 2013

Girl Power

This Sunday, we were blessed with beautiful weather, wonderful animals and fantastic women.  Two lovely ladies from Lighthouse Care Center brought six girls to the barn.  We were graced by the presence of several volunteers from diverse backgrounds.

As always, we are beyond grateful for the support we receive from our volunteers.  The diversity of our volunteers provides our riders different people from whom to connect.  We are so happy to have formed a connection with the Beta Club at Carolina Forest High School.  These young girls act as peer mentors for our riders.  We appreciate them sharing their time with us!

The girls are beginning to make progress in their riding skills.  It has been fun to watch some of these ladies, who at one time were scared to even brush a horse, but are now trotting independently.  As always, Maya is a great learning tool.  What better way to teach leadership and communication than through a sometimes stubborn mare?  I always tell our riders that we need to communicate through our bodies, with good posture and confidence and that horses and humans will take us more seriously when we do.  It makes me laugh when our riders have the "ah-ha" moment and realize that sometimes in life they are the stubborn mare!

It was really exciting for me to see the willingness of our riders to give back.  Today, not only did they get to participate by riding, we also had some tasks for them to do at the barn.  They got to see what it takes to care for our animals.  The girls put in some hard work and dug some holes for fence posts for a new pen for barn favorites, Rosie and Schooner.  It is because of our volunteers and role models that they were able to see that woman can accomplish these labored tasks.  Next time they are with us, they will be able to witness what their hard work was for.

It always makes me smile that we have to practically drag the kids out of the barn.  It tells me that we have created a positive environment and that our horses are part of the healing process!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Serving Aces for Smiling Faces

There have been some exciting happenings for the Fidelis Foundation since my last post!  First of all we are continuing to serve approximately 30 youth each month!  It is due to the outstanding efforts of our volunteers that we are able to touch the lives of these children.

I wanted to keep you all updated with some of the happenings occurring on an organizational level.  We are seeking accreditation from PATH International. We are hoping this accreditation will help us better assist the youth, increase our likelihood for grants, and improve our community awareness. Jennifer and I will be attending  a conference in November to begin the process.

Lastly, I wanted to invite you all to "Serving Aces for Smiling Faces," a tennis tournament to benefit Fidelis.  The event will take place on November 16th at Prestwick Country Club.  The event will begin in the morning with breakfast provided by Chick-fil-a of Surfside. Following breakfast some of our younger riders will trade their reins for racquets and try some skills on the court!  Following the demonstration, participants will play in a tennis mixer.  Registration is only $25. Following game play, lunch will be held at the clubhouse courtesy of Subway.  Photographs from the tournament will be available for purchase, a 50/50 raffle will be held and a special prize for the winners of the tournament!

Fidelis is currently looking for court sponsorships for this event. Blue ribbon sponsorships are available for $100 and red ribbon sponsorships for $50.  We would like to extend a special thanks to those business who have already committed to sponsoring this event and helping us "Change Lives, One Stride at a Time."

Monday, July 29, 2013

Horses Help Heal

This past weekend, Fidelis was happy to host some young men from Lighthouse Care Center and some young women from Seacoast Youth Academy.  We were grateful for the wonderful turnout of volunteers. We couldn't have done it without you! It was a hot summer day and the youth enjoyed spending time with the horses as well cooling off with some popsicles.

On this particular Sunday, we spent sometime talking about our feelings.  For those of you who don't know, horses wear their emotions on their sleeves.  Or shall we say, ears.   For people who spend time with horses, we quickly learn how they are feeling without them saying a word.

For youth who are in out of home placements, sometimes due to no fault of their own, anger is an emotion they know all too well.  Unfortunately for them, pinning their ears back or even kicking the people who make them angry is not an option.  Often times their anger comes from a lack of control.

I spent some time having the youth create a visual representation of things that are in their control and things that are not.  When riding a horse, our riders need to learn how to work with the animal in order to maintain control.  This is true in other areas of their lives.  They need assistance maintaining some level of control.  Consider putting yourself in their shoes.  Imagine going through a day when someone tells you when to get up, what to wear, what to eat, what activities you will participate in, who you will live with, and when you will communicate with your loved one.  Probably not the life you imagined.  It is no wonder that some of these young people feel frustrated and lack the skills to express it appropriately.

Young people need our help.  At Fidelis we don't only teach them to interact with our amazing animals.  We are also helping them overcome their past and learn to trust again.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Hello, my name is Nicole and I am a volunteer and board member of the Fidelis Foundation.  I am excited to share information about this wonderful organization, located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

I first heard of the Fidelis Foundation when I was working at a residential home for young men in foster care.  The boys were invited out to Fidelis on the fourth Sunday of each month.  I was beyond excited to share horses with the youth I was working with.  I had ridden horses as a kid and I remember how I felt bonding with horses and thought that it would be a great fit for some of the youth in the home.

I remember loading up the bus and driving to the barn.  I heard some boys chatting about a fear of horses, some were filled with fear of stepping in manure, and some speaking fondly about riding horses in the past.  When we arrived we were greeted by smiling volunteers who welcomed us to the facility. Each session began with an opening prayer, thanking the Lord for bringing us together again and providing us with the beautiful animals we would soon begin to build relationships with.

As the months went on, the talk on the bus ride turned into talk of which horse was their favorite, the smiling volunteers greeted us with hugs, and the boys turned out to be pretty good riders.  However, my favorite transformation was in the boys themselves.  When they left the barn they returned to the house more confident.  The time they had spent with the volunteers had taught them about leadership, self-respect, and control of their emotions.

As my career changed, I knew I had to become a part of this beautiful organization and reach out to other at-risk youth in the community and I am happy to say I have done just that.  I spend each of my Sunday afternoons with my Fidelis family and I am thankful that you have taken the time to learn more about our organization.  Each week I will be posting about the experiences at Fidelis.  I strongly encourage you to come out and see the changes we are making in these children's lives first hand!