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!