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September 6, 2008

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September 6, 2008

My daughters have been volunteering at Square Peg Ranch for about six months and it has been a delightful experience as well as an invaluable learning opportunity. Joell's horses are always treated with loving kindness and it shows. After a few ground rules and common sense pointers were learned I have always felt that my girls were safe around these large animals. Because they are so well cared for, they respond in kind. In addition, learning what it takes to maintain a farm has been a privilege, hard work ( good for body and soul ) and a ton of fun. With horses, dogs, cats, and goats, Joell's place is the worlds best petting zoo, where you will also meet the nicest and smartest people around.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the happiness of the staff, clients, volunteers and resident animals at Square Peg Ranch.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

do it the way Joell does.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

having the opportunity to be around the horses in a safe and friendly atmosphere.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

all outstanding individuals.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

have the large pastures that would keep all the horses in seventh heaven.

Ways to make it better...

I had only known about Square Peg sooner.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the weather.

One thing I'd also say is that...

if you love your kids,you should sign up with Square Peg Foundation. There's no better way to earn community service credits while you learn and have fun.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

September 5, 2008

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September 5, 2008

Joelle, SquarePeg people and horses are magic. Every time I think of Bert my horse I donated to SquarePeg, I have tears in my eyes. I feel so lucky that Bert is in such wonderful hands and he loves the children at SquarePeg. Bert was and still is the love of my life. He is so well taken care off at SquarePeg and he contributes to the well being of all the riders in the program. Thanks Joelle

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the participants

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Joelle, her staff and all the animals

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

wonderful

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

take in more horses and people

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

September 2, 2008

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September 2, 2008

I leave this place with a huge smile on my face. The environment is relaxed and low stress. The facility is well run. The horses are bright, healthy and love to interact--they are not shut down as is the case with some equestrian facilities. Joell Dunlap is amazing. Everyone is welcome. She works equally well with horses and people in just about any capacity (an unusual gift). I hope I can find time to volunteer there on a regular basis. I feel like I will take more than I can probably give.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

how children, their parents, volunteers all willingly and joyfully get their hands dirty

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find a way to help Joell get more adminstrative help so she could spend more time teaching and working hands on

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

watching the kids work with the horses in responsible, trusting relationships

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly, welcoming, communicative

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to volunteer and I had a car!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

space constraints, increased funding

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

September 1, 2008

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September 1, 2008

I was attracted to Square Pegs because of their slogan "Everyone Fits". Even me? A horse crazy middle-aged woman? Yes, even me! I found wonderful ways to volunteer with the organization that brought me into close contact with the animals I so love. Joell Dunlap is a force of nature... and it is a beautiful thing to watch the compassionate way she works with kids and animals. Square Pegs is an oasis of kindness in our sometimes indifferent world.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the way the horses relate to humans... they are so much more alert and sensitive than horses that I have seen in other lesson situations.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I couldn't run this organization. Joell Dunlap is an amazing person who has created something very unique and beautiful.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Growing confidence in my ability to relate to horses and ride.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

amazing. I particularly enjoyed the guest speakers who came to talk on specific topics.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

serve many more children in need. I would like to see some of our local low income Latino children have the experience learning to ride horses that many of the more affluent kids enjoy.

Ways to make it better...

there was a way for me to practice riding individually to integrate what I was learning in lessons. The facility is rather small, so arena space is limited.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Certainly funding, and the danger of director burn out as she fulfills so many roles at once.

One thing I'd also say is that...

There is a highly spiritual component to this program that is hard to convey to funders. I hope they will come see the program in person.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

September 1, 2008

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September 1, 2008

Joell, Greg and the volunteers at Square Peg have created a beautiful, magical place, where my 6 year old son with autism thrives. He loves Joell, Greg, the horses, and other animals. The kids who volunteer are great role models for him. Greg and Joell focus his tremendous energy on jobs at the ranch, which he loves and is very proud of. They know how to work with active boys! He is so happy there because he can be himself. He can be loud and socially awkward at times and he is not judged. At Square Peg, I have found a very special place where I can learn and grow as a parent. I have learned that my son can successfully be very independent and that I can let go there and trust that he will be O.K. I have learned that rather than trying so hard to turn my son from a square peg into a round one, I want to find more places like Square Peg, where he can happily be himself.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

helping children with a variety of special needs: autism, Down's Syndrome, and emotional difficulties experience great joy and growth. I have seen typical children, become well-informed compassionate teachers of children with special needs. I have seen parents learn to trust others with their special children and increase their confidence in their children's strengths and independence.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find more volunteers to work on fundraising so that I could hire an administrator. However, this is easier said than done, when you are devoted to providing a great service to children.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing my son radiance at Square Peg. I enjoy learning from Joell and Greg about children and parenting. I love to see these beautiful horses so well loved and taken care of.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

awesome-knowledgeable, compassionate, fun, and creative.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

give thousands of children the opportunity to experience a beautiful connection with the horses, be incredibly happy in a place where they can be themselves and teach many typical kids to be. It could rescue more beautiful horses. It could hire a director, so that Joell can devote her remarkable talents to the children.

Ways to make it better...

Joell had administrative support. And our experience has been and continues to be wonderful.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Square Peg is an amazing gift to children and their families from coastal and inland families from San Jose to San Franciso. I encourage anybody who values children with special needs, creating compassionate children who can teach others, and rescuing beautiful horses to consider helping this organization through volunteering and/or financial support.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

August 31, 2008

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August 31, 2008

We just recently started riding at Square Peg. My son is five and has autism. We'd participated in horseback riding for children with special needs before we moved here from TX and my son absolutely loved it, so I knew we needed to find a nurturing environment to continue that love here in CA. Joell and her volunteers are amazing! Joell is so calm, kind and patient with my son; and a great new friend for this Mom who is definitely in need of some adult conversation! I am so happy to have met someone who accepts my child and his difficulties without judgment, but instead with compassion and the desire to help him connect with these amazing animals she has rehabilitated. We're thrilled to have found Square Peg!

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing my son's happiness and relaxation when he is riding.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

patient, kind, and eager to learn about our kids' differences.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the lives of even more children with special needs; and perhaps even branch out and have an autism-specific learning center!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

August 30, 2008

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August 30, 2008

Few times in life are you honored to meet truly special people that work tirelessly to change the lives of others. I have met those people recently. I have been looking for a chance to work with animals and special needs children for a while now.I have found that in a small ranch in Half Moon Bay where injured horses and challenged children come together to create a second chance for everyone. Under the supervision of the deciated and loving hand of Joell Dunlap.I have learned new lessons on compassion.Joell and her team have saved the lives of so many horses that were written off to injury, age, or thought not to be of any use anymore. I have fell in love with the horses spirit, their stories and learned the healing qualities of the giant gentle creatures. As they run through the open pastures with renewed joy or kick up their heals in mischievous bliss. I am forever grateful for being present on the ranch and being able to be a part of the moments that inspire the spirit in all of us. I am honored for my time as a volunteer at Square Pegs

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The animals and children who they touch

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

being with the horses and learning from Joell

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

August 29, 2008

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August 29, 2008

What Square Peg has done for my daughter Sarah and her sister Rachel is beyond words! Sarah's face lights up at the thought of working with the horses and alongside Greg, Sigourney and Joell! Their encouragement and guidance is helping her to feel more confident in ALL she does, at the ranch and beyond! The time with the horses is magical. She asks to ride frequently but is just as happy to work and play with the horses and goats and "Sissy" and all the cats! We can't thank you enough!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

observing the staff, volunteers and all the clients benefiting from the loving and nurturing environment.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find enough people to help do the administrative stuff so that instructors and staff had more time to do the "work".

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

relaxing and seeing the smiles on my girls faces!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

kind, generous, thoughtful and thorough.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

spread its magic throughout the world!

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to be there!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

financial freedom and time

One thing I'd also say is that...

Anyone who is touched by this wonderful woman's vision, will forever be changed for the better!!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

August 29, 2008

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August 29, 2008

My daughter has been riding at Square Peg Foundation for about 3 years. While we love the horses, the real reason we continue is because of the positive attitudes and nurturing environment offered at Square Peg. Director Joell Dunlap is calm, friendly, positive, unflappable, careful, responsible, fun, and extremely knowledgeable. She teaches much more than just the riding, including horse care and nutrition. The students tack the horses before and after the lesson (including brushing and hoof care), help with feeding, etc. The lesson is designed to be 1.5 hours long (but frequently goes longer -- the kids don't want to leave). At the ranch they have beautiful, well-cared for horses. Many are race-horse rescues with some amazing stories! There are also cats, dogs, goats, ponies -- it's just a fun, relaxing place to be. Square Peg has room for everyone -- kids with special needs, homeschooled kids, parents, whoever needs a chance to realize their own strengths and build confidence. The same applies to the horses. Square Peg finds a home and purpose for horses that have been considered useless by former owners.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my daughter's increasing confidence in herself, and her desire to have a career with animals.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

let the best instructors just teach, and have an administrator run the organization.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the positive, encouraging atmosphere, and clear goals set by the organization.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

responsible, friendly, calm and knowledgeable.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

serve more children and horses, and reach out to a larger population.

Ways to make it better...

the director had more time with the students and animals, and didn't have to do so much paperwork.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

lack of a dedicated administrator -- the director's talent at teaching is being lost as she tries to handle all the administration as well.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Square Peg is doing very important work that more people should know about.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

August 28, 2008

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August 28, 2008

I volunteered here for about six months, and while there, I had such a wonderful experience! It was a lot of fun to meet the people and work with the horses. This organization does some really awesome things and is a fantastic place to get involved with. It's NOT a waste of time when you're volunteering, because there's always something to learn and do. Plus, if you're tired or sick, they don't get mad that you can't work. They value whatever you can give them, no matter how big or small. I loved every minute of it, and hope that they stick around for a long time, because what they do makes a huge difference to a lot of people.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the attitude of the kids who come to ride the horses. They are always really excited and can't wait to work with everyone!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

pay close attention to how my volunteers are feeling and possibly create a time for all the volunteers to meet and spend some time together bonding.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

feeling that I'm making a difference doing something I love.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very considerate and kind. They made sure that, while I was there to work, I had fun as well.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

make the world a lot better place for kids with disabilities.

Ways to make it better...

there had been more volunteers helping me. I got tired very quickly, and often couldn't stay as long as I wanted to.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the lack of funds. With more money, they would be able to do even more than they already have.

One thing I'd also say is that...

they work hard to make other people's lives better and that's what makes their organization so special.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

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