Square Peg is like an oasis where horses, humans, and magic work together to perform miracles on a daily basis.
Everyone is welcome, and uniqueness is not just tolerated, but embraced. On a given day, neurotypical students take lessons side-by-side and work with kids who experience the world in a completely different way. No one is less than anyone else; everyone is accepted as they are, where they are.
The staff and volunteers at Square Peg are doing a wonderful job at creating the change that the world needs to see and be, rescuing animals, valuing differences, and respecting everyone involved.
Just returned from another wonderful afternoon at Square Peg Foundation. My formerly isolated and unhappy daughter is learning and working cooperatively and happily with other youth and with the horses, and together they grow to accept and trust each other. It's music to my ears to hear her animated account of her lesson, what the kids did, what the staff did, and what the horses did. Joell and her staff are remarkably caring and patient and accepting; they willingly meet each young person in whatever emotional space they happen to be in on a given day. Parents can sit back and relax for a few minutes, pet one of the ranch dogs, or jump in and help with a project around the office or stalls...whatever they need to do at the time. I was referred to Square Peg Foundation from another satisfied family, and will happily pass along my recommendation.
My 13 year old son takes riding here & we love it! The Square Peg folks are friendly, caring and careful. The most wonderfully unique thing about Square Peg is that it is all inclusive - so regardless of the needs of a child, all are welcome and included and feel important here. Both of my kids (one with disabilities & one without) adore Square Peg, are challenged, comfortable, and learn new things every time. A true gem!
Friendly welcome, freedom: to be who you are as an individual and as a family, lgbtg?-no problem, a place that heals horses and people, integrity, generous, loving, challenging...and like most non-profits they do it all with not enough time or money but with love and grit. (If I took the time to write out complete thoughts this review would be way too long. Try it, if you "get it" you will love it.) My SF city boys have benefitted from Joell and the horses more than I can say.
Square peg is the most unique and wonderful organization I have either professionally or personally ever been involved in. My son has been involved since he was 5 years old. He started riding and learning invaluable life lessons like caring, sharing and acceptance of others. My son has several challenges that left him feeling very different than other kids and not accepted. He found at Square Peg he was accepted, and cared about by not only the remarkable staff but other students at Square Peg. He now is in high school, volunteers all summer with helping other kids in the summer camps and continues volunteers throughout the school year. Square Peg is the place were everyone really does fit. This organization has changed my sons life. He now has groups of high school kids from his school who help out a couple of times a year as community service projects and they also enjoy it. He continues to now ride in their new polo program and has found he loves it. I volunteer whenever I can and love working with the Staff, Board members and clients.
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.
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.