November 10, 2012
I am a retired person. I do not have a lot of disposable income, so before I give to a charity, I want to get to know about its staff and its operations to assure my donations are going to groups in whose work I strongly believe. From the first time I met the founder and President of Begin Again Farms, Rhonda Jackson, I felt a strong connection to the mission of this equine rescue center. Rhonda's seemingly boundless energy and determination have created a following of dedicated volunteers and supporters, making possible a safe haven for over 50 equines rescued from abuse or abandonment. The facility, located in Ellerslie, GA, is not fancy, but it is clean, organized and efficient, and the animals are well cared for. Operating entirely on donations and grants, Rhonda personally works with the rescued equines to restore them in mind and body. Her exceptional empathy and patience with them makes it possible for many to find suitable homes, but those who are too old, infirm or emotionally damaged to be adopted can live out their days here in peace and comfort. Rhonda also spends much time organizing educational events and reaching out to the community and beyond in public appearances to bring attention to the needs of the animals in her care, as well as to help individuals learn to care for their animals in a better way. She works with local and state law enforcement agencies when impoundments occur, and has a way of diffusing volatile situations when trying to get an equine out of a bad condition. Rhonda is on call 24/7, and will not hesitate to go out at any hour if called to help with a rescue. She works with the Wounded Warrior program helping recovering soldiers through working with the rescued equines. She also works with students and others who need to do community service and provides guidance and training in the care of the animals. She does all this in spite of the challenges of having MS. Her doctors have been amazed that she has defied their predictions some eight years ago that she would be in a nursing home within six months. Rhonda says that her mission with the rescue has given her the strength to hold the MS at bay, and truly if you did not know her well, you would not know she had MS. I have been a horseman all my life, and quickly recognized what a good horseman Rhonda is. It did not take me long to become a supporter of Begin Again Equine Shelter, as well as a volunteer and a fundraiser. I am convinced that my donations and my faith in the charity are well placed. To learn more about this charity and the equines who are available for adoption or for support, visit www.beginagainfarms.com.
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