I love everything about Rose of Sharon! From the moment you arrive you feel a sense of quiet and calm that makes you want to sit on the bench outside the barn and stare at the hills all day. As an educator, I was able to set up volunteer work-based learning activities with Joan and her staff (who are all incredible!). Our students have learned valuable experiences that include; moving and spreading mulch, cleaning stall doors, heavy manual lifting tasks, and custodial work. The staff at Roses always pay special attention to our students and work with them every step of the way to complete given tasks with greater and greater independence. Not only do our students enjoy volunteering each week, but our school staff love visiting Roses with them as well! We could not ask for a better partnership for our school and our students.
I met Joan and learned of ROSES through my Girl Scout troop. My Cadettes (7th Grade) were looking to complete their Animal Helpers Badge and I was looking for a unique and interesting way for the girls to complete the badge. When I reached out to Joan, she was more than willing to help and the result was nothing short of amazing. Joan put together an experience for the girls that they will never forget. She is a wonderful teacher and the facility is nothing short of stunning. I cannot say enough to let Joan and ROSES know how appreciative I am of the experience that was provided for my troop.
I have been involved with ROSES as a parent of a student, a volunteer and a board member for the past 15 years. I have seen the miracles that happen when children with disabilities have the opportunity to interact with horses. Personally, my daughter gained self confidence, independence and self esteem along with an ability to work with others. ROSES has made a huge difference in my life and my family.
I have been involved with ROSES for many years. First as a parent of a student, a volunteer and now on the board of directors. There are many wonderful stories of the students connecting with the horses, especially those with autism. ROSES changes the lives of these special kids. Joan does amazing things and truly makes a difference!
All you need to do is step foot in the barn at Roses, and you know you have entered a special place. I have been a volunteer there for a year and a half, and it has quickly become one of the highlights of my week. Joan and the volunteers are some of the most dedicated and warm and caring individuals I have ever met. Once the kids come, the miracles truly start. Helping a child who has been withdrawn and hesitant and even sometimes angry in the classroom interact positively with a horse is nothing short of inspirational..Each horse has its own personality and Joan takes much care in assessing each child individually and assigning them a horse that will encourage the student to try new things which inevitably results in positive change. Roses is simply a phenomenal place.
ROSES is such a special place where wonderful things happen for children with disabilities. I saw it in my daughter when she was a student. Joan has created a safe haven where children gain self confidence while interacting with the horses and learning to care for them. My daughter became more confident and was proud of the work that she mastered at ROSES. There is no other place like ROSES!
From the moment you set foot on the farm, you feel the warmth and compassion of everyone you meet. The staff and volunteers feel passionately about the horses and the students, they are dedicated to the mission of the organization and work tirelessly to better themselves and the services they provide.
ROSES is such a special organization. Everyone (whether it is the barn cat, the horses or the volunteers) is treated with an enormous amount of care and respect. The stories that I have heard about students' experiences are life changing. It is truly an honor to be involved in such a unique and valued organization. ROSES has been a part of my life for over 2 years and I am so excited to see what the future has in store for us.
Whether the children are staring into the eyes of one of the precious miniature horses, brushing Stella's soft, buck skin coat, having fun in the wash stall giving patient Izzie a bath, or simply feeling the warm breath and soft muzzle of Big Midnight, Rose of Sharon creates a bond between human and animal like no other. It all starts as soon as you enter the cozy, welcoming barn, where your mind is gently transported to a place where the outside world takes a back seat. And it's all topped off with the smiles and caring personalities of the volunteers. The children, their aids and volunteers all feel the power of ROSES instantly, and those feelings stay with you long after you leave the barn. That is what makes it so unique and why so many children have benefited from its magic.
The executive director, Joan Twining, along with the sensitive and gentle horses have found a way to break through barriers in children's minds without them even realizing it. It's truly remarkable, and as a volunteer for the past two years, I am so proud to be a part of this wonderful organization.
My daughter has been volunteering at ROSES for a year now and asked me to come out this past spring to take a tour to see if I would also like to volunteer. The minute you step into the barn, you are captured by pure serenity. Joan Marie Twining and her horses have created the most welcoming, therapeutic safe haven where children and adults with special needs can come to gain self-confidence, inner strength and peace, which they rarely find in their daily lives. Her compassion for these unique individuals, along with the sweetest horses I have met, has transformed so many. I have seen first hand the once reluctant faces turn into ones with smiles and adoration for Joan and her horses. The past five months of volunteering have been some of the most fulfilling months of my life, and I will be around for a long time to help this great cause become that much greater.
ROSES is a very special and unique place. It is meticulously cared for by Joan, who lives to take care of the children and the horses. I immediately felt at home when I visited, and ultimately volunteered there. It is a real gem, tucked away in northern MD.
I could never fully express the worth of ROSES through words. ROSES has a huge place in my heart for SOO many reasons. I was introduced to ROSES over 13 years ago. Over those years here are just a few key reasons I continue to fall in love with ROSES...
1- After my Mom was in a tragic accident, volunteering at ROSES was therapeutic for me. Joan as a person is therapeutic, her presence alone is calming. Her heart & dedication to her horses & her clients is inspiring and never ceases to impress me!
2- While I was in school to be an Occupational Therapist I saw first hand the amazing physical progress a women healing from a brain injury displayed at ROSES, but best of all I saw her eyes light up & the deep passion she had horseback riding (& the gift it was for her to be back on a horse).
3- While in school Joan allowed us the privilege to work with her on a school project, where we were suppose to fill a need for her. But again- Joan's wisdom & therapeutic use of self probably taught us & impacted us in away that never leaves. (And yet she is so humble- always so humble)
4- When I began working at a school for children with Autism & behaviors Joan helped in writing a grant for some of our kids to be able to come weekly to visit & be treated through ROSES. ROSES reached kids & brought smiles & skills that were not seen in the school environment. Joan would also take any difficult case (e.g.- a student that didn't want to go into the barn & scared if the horse) & create a plan and program specifically for that student (outside if the group plan). By the end of the visits the students did a 180 & showed growth that I never expected to see!!
Joan, the horses, the staff & the volunteers that make up ROSES are spectacular and an answer to so many prayers on so many levels!!!