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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Equestrian, Health, Human Services, Military & Veterans Organizations, Rehabilitative Care, Sports, Veterans

Mission: Our mission at Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center is Hope, Renewal, and Growth- the meaning of the emerald gem stone. Through the use of equine assisted therapies, we strive to bring hope into the lives of the people we serve, provide them with a renewed sense of self, and give them an opportunity for growth.

Results: Since 2017 we have provided services to over 150 Veterans, their spouses, and Gold Star family members from throughout the country. In 2019 we provided 330 therapeutic sessions!

Target demographics: children and adult with disabilities as well as Veterans and Gold Star family members

Geographic areas served: the greater Tampa Bay Area

Programs: physical therapy incorporating hippotherapy, therapeutic horse riding, and Powerful Equine Assisted Counseling Experiences.

Community Stories

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a social work major at Saint Leo University that had to complete a field placement internship as a part of the program. I was given a list to choose from, and something gave me a special feeling when reading about Emerald M. Before I knew it, I was placed to intern at this nonprofit. Excited yet nervous, I began my journey at Emerald M. Words cannot describe the magic that happens at this establishment. The people that I have encountered over the last few months are some of the most inspirational individuals I will ever come by in my lifetime. Throughout my entire time here, I have went home every day completely astonished by the services Emerald M provides and the willingness they have to help others. They will do anything and everything in their power to assist their participants. These people are perfectly genuine, providing unconditional support to each and every person that walks through the door. They work immensely hard because these people love what they do, and it shows. Not to mention, the volunteers that Emerald M has are just as amazing. They are hard working, and taught me just as much. As for the participants, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect group of people. Every child taught me something that I couldn’t have dreamed of learning. To watch them grow, succeed, and progress in their therapy with each session was breathtaking. As my weeks at Emerald M went on, I slowly started to realize that as the participants progressed, I did too. It took some time, but I came to see that although I was there to learn from Emerald M’s staff, I was learning from the clients as well. Considering I was unfamiliar with hippotherapy before starting at Emerald M, I was amazed to learn just what the horses were doing for these individuals, physically and mentally. These horses are natural healers, truly. The things that I learned here at this nonprofit are things that cannot be taught in a classroom. As a matter of fact, I believe that they could not be taught anywhere but a place like Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center. To be here is a journey, and each person has the opportunity to make it their own. Whenever I would try to explain the magic that occurs here to anybody, I would be at a loss for words. This place is like no other. My time at Emerald M is time that I cherish, and I am forever grateful.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Everyone at Emerald M is passionate and dedicated to the families who come to the center. We’ve been going to them for almost 2 years for hippotherapy. Within a few weeks others started asking what we were doing different as they noticed a tremendous change in core strength. Physical therapy with horses in the outdoor setting is amazing.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Emerald M is near and dear to our hearts.
Our daughter, is 8 yrs. old. She has a diagnosis of Down Syndrome & Apraxia. She has been receiving therapy at Emerald M for three years. Emerald M is a safe haven for our daughter and our family. They provide invaluable therapeutic services that have made a huge difference in her development. Amazing things happen as a result of hippotherapy, She has new found confidence. Her anxiety settles & peace emerges the moment she sits on her horse. Physically her core/trunk is strengthened which helps her body to maintain proper posture. The core is the center of control for everything else the body does. The muscles associated with core strength include the muscles of the abdomen, pelvis, and back. Poor core strength can cause poor posture which can affect gross motor ad fine motor skills. Poor core strength can also affect breathing and have an effect on speech.
Because they are able to address strengthening her core, her muscle tone has improved. Her eye tracking, focus & attention also continue to improve.
I could go on & on, I can’t say enough about this phenomenal therapy or the amazing individuals at Emerald M who pour their hearts & souls into each and every client.

1 Franco C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’m an old volunteer from this farm, (and still do when I can, occasionally), and it is a top notch facility, with top notch members, and fellow volunteers. I’m also the Marine Corps Combat Veteran that’s featured on their website, Franco and Anna, the rescued Broodmare. This farm treats everyone like they’re family; and the horses at the facility are absolute sweethearts. I’ve witnessed some truly amazing things while volunteering here. And, fortunately for me, have even had the honor of helping some of those clients first hand when those moments would happen. Miracles truly do happen here, this farm is an absolute blessing.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I’ve always believed in miracles just never witnessed one first hand. I was blessed to get to know the Somoano’s when our Son was playing little league We sat in the bleachers together on many occasions. Their daughter Brianna was always so full of smiles and loved to watch her brothers play. It was easy to see the strength in her although she was confined to a wheelchair. It just so happens we had met another wonderful family at our Church - Chuck and Gina Savko. As you get to know folks conversations turn to talking about the “kids” - enter Lisa and Laura their daughters. One day Chuck invites my wife Cyndi and I To a small fund raiser - low and behold Jack and Kathy Somoano and Brianna were there. Well Lisa as it turned out was Briannas Therapist at Emerald M. There have been many stories since that night seems so long ago - but with so many blessings in my life I can now add seeing a miracle before my eyes! The love and dedication of so many volunteers and the support from families who visit, work with, and depend on Lisa and the Emerald M have provided me with that opportunity over and over. One that will always be extra special is to see how this young lady has grown and reached milestone after milestone with her own strength, the love of Jack Kathy and the rest of their family, and some special help from Lisa and the farm. I hope and pray the list of miracles continues to grow every year!
To two special ladies that I have had the pleasure of crossing paths with - Love you Lisa and Brianna -

2 Marge A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

On July 9, 2015 I got a call that no one wants. That’s when my journey as a Gold Star Mom began. Each year only became more difficult & on my 3rd yr I spiraled down the “deep black hole”. I’ll never forget the day in late Nov of 2018 feeling alone & without purpose in my life & not caring if I had a life anymore. That’s when the phone rang & a friend told me she was participating in a Gold Star Mom retreat for a week in Dec & that they had an opening & she thought of me. I kept saying to her, “yeah I’ll think about it” & then felt a nudge & said “ you know, I think I need to do this”. So it all began! During my week with 5 other Gold Star moms we had different activities each day with one going to Emerald M Therapeutic horse ranch. I was not feeling sure of this one. To top it off I was encouraged to work with the only mare named “Anna” who did not want anything to do with this program that day! I remember saying to a friend, “you’ve got to be kidding me, you want me to work with this horse!?! I took the challenge & that was the beginning of a beautiful love affair! As the day went on I knew I wanted to return to Emerald M & spend time with Anna. So I became a volunteer & drove 120 miles twice a week to see Anna & my friends at Emerald M who has become my extended family. They have helped me to find myself again & now I look forward to each day helping others help others. I am so thankful to them for all they do & always look forward to my special times with Anna. I highly recommend this opportunity to anyone that feels the need for help.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

3
I am a Vietnam veteran with PTSD and I had numerous problems before I went to Emerald M Farms I was afraid of horses and became very close with the one horse I was working with they taught me different ways to overcome some of the problems with my PTSD through their therapy and counseling I appreciate what they have done for me it is made a difference in my life

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Miracles happen here! Amazing people, beautiful facility, and special animals!
Physical Therapy utilizing Hippotherapy has proven results that I would not have been able to achieve with my patients in the traditional therapy clinic. I feel blessed to be a part of this amazing organization!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Brianna Somoano and I’m 19 years old. I was referred to Emerald M in hopes that it would help me advance in my physical abilities. so my dad and I went to go see what it was all about. It was one the best decisions my family and I have ever made! I started coming to them back in 2015 and we haven’t looked back since. Little did I know that through this journey of being with Emerald M that I would build such a passion for riding and horses. Before coming to Emerald M, My core was weak and I didn’t have any body awareness and I didn’t have much trust in myself and in my capabilities. I also was very tight and so much tone would kick in. With the help of this amazing organization, I now am aware of my body capabilities and I have built so much trust within myself and in my abilities. I am so much stronger mentally and physically. I have also hit so many milestones, (one of which I will never ever forget) with the help of Emerald M I was able to walk across the stage to receive my diploma at my high school graduation. They have made a tremendous impact on my life and I’ll always be forever grateful for this beautiful organization and the incredible staff involved.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter Sarah was adopted at 5.5 years old from an adult mental institution in Ukraine. She could hardly sit up without help. She was kept tied to a cot by 3straps because she was blind & delayed. After we adopted her we tried every kind of therapy with little success. She gained weight & strength but did not understand how to walk. Every specialist who saw her assured us she should be physically able to walk- there was nothing wrong with her- no CP. it was their guess that she just had missed the developmental milestones & with no vision & limited understanding she just couldn’t figure out how to walk.
So we found out about Emerald M and were able to try it thanks to the gardener scholarship. We started two years ago and noticed a significant change within weeks. Now our daughter can walk with assistance throughout our house, she can get into our van with very little assistance, she can get in and out of the bathtub with very little assistance And it has changed her life as well as ours. And one thing that is truly different my daughter looks forward to therapy. All the therapies we had used prior stressed her out. We believe by her feeling the horse moving underneath her in a way that mimics human walking her brain was able to cooperate with her legs to help her learn where to put her legs and feet to be able to walk. There is no other explanation. She was 11 years old when she started walking It is very unusual for a child to make such great strides at such a late age. We cannot think Emerald M the staff the volunteers and the horses enough. This has been a life-changing experience for our daughter. Sometimes it overwhelms me to see her on the horse and remember she was a little girl who was considered unwanted and bedridden living in an institution on the other side of the world. Thanks to Emerald M She is free to explore the world.