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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Hunkapi Programs Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Rehabilitative Care

Mission: Hunkapi is the horse program with heart and a name you will never forget. Hunkapi, (pronounced Hoon-KAH-pee) a Native American word translated to mean “I am related to everyone”, offers horse programs that emphasize learning about relationships with yourself and others. Hunkapi was founded as a research program in 1996. When compared to other sports, the research showed that horseback riding was the most positive intervention for children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism. The positive results prompted the launching of the community outreach program in 1999. Hunkapi believes that interacting with horses can serve as a non-drug intervention alternative. Today, the benefits of the Hunkapi Horse Program are experienced by many, ages 3 through adult, with and without behavioral, emotional and developmental needs. Hunkapi offers a vast range of services including riding programs, corporate teambuilding, equine therapy, and life skills groups. We are on a mission to teach the world to fear less and love more.

Results: Since inception, we've helped thousands of clients open their hearts and grow.

Target demographics: our community

Geographic areas served: sunny Scottsdale, Arizona

Programs: Therapeutic riding, Horse Powered Learning programs, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, and Life Skills and Emotional Regulation Groups.

Community Stories

26 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 BonnieLynn

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and declared SMI (Serious Mental Illness) through the state of Arizona in 2016. I was extremely vulnerable and scared. I had no idea how I would survive again in this noisy world by being back in reality again. A few months after my 10 day hospitalization at Desert Vista the state provided me with a program called Vocational Rehab. I had also surrendered my life to God In January 2015. So I trusted God fully through this storm in my life. I had been addicted to alcohol and drugs for 20years and this contributed to my hospitalization. After my diagnosis and with Gods help I knew it was time to give it all up or I could die. But how? Who would I be sober? I had a meeting with the vocational rehab specialist and they told me there are programs to transition me back into the workplace. They mentioned the opportunity to work with horses. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! It was always a dream of mine to be around horses. Only God knew this dream in my heart. I had NO horse experience? How would this happen I asked myself? I Continued to trust God that he would make a way...Sure enough a few months later I would be entering the “Open Your Heart” Gates of HUNKAPI. “ LOVE GROWS HERE” is the theme. It was then and there I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I was greeted by a very lovely employee that welcomed me with open arms. She said we will teach you everything you need to know! When I entered the barn, I noticed one of the horses name was “Amazing Grace.” Another confirmation God was taking care of me. Then the therapy sessions started. These kids had a spark a light that I had never seen before. Even though they had a disability, like me, they had a happiness that I could not explain. Not only that but these special magical horses knew their job. I couldn’t believe their patience and calm energy around these clients. As I lead the horse with the rider on top I discovered a “Joy” within myself that I never knew existed. Week after week I began to heal. I began to feel extreme gratitude for the life God has given me. I was discovering who I am sober. All of my fears, worries, and anxieties melted away every time I entered the “Open Your Heart” gates. I fell in love with all of the employees, volunteers, horses and clients! I have been volunteering for 4 years now and recently got employed here doing what I love. Seeing the pure joy and excitement on everyone that comes to Hunkapi is breathtaking, magical , and Never gets old! There is definitely something Magical about Hunkapi! The presence of God/LOVE is here without a doubt!! Terra is an Amazing woman! She has taught me so much. She has taught me how to LOVE with all my heart and how to FEAR less! I’m eternally grateful to her for creating a space like HUNKAPI. I Thank God, Terra, all of the animals and everyone involved with Hunkapi that has helped me to become healthy, happy, and sober for 5 years now! Thank you! I love you all!Bonnie

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This will be no silique, short and sweet. If you want to contribute or volunteer at the most deserving and giving organization then you have found the right place! You will NEVER feel more gratified or fulfilled in not only to your service to the children, adults, horses, donkeys, goats, pot belly pig, goats, chickens, but most importantly the Staff. I have been in healthcare my entire career and the founder, employees, and volunteers are what make this place magic.

Cathi P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Posted by my daughter,she had something to share.

I went here as a client in the beginning to work on a traumatic experience that had happened to me a about 6 months to a year before. When I went there I was very closed off and numb to everything, I would stay behind the group I was put in and the staff here saw. Later on I started doing one on ones with Lacey who is an amazing councillor, I also began to come out of my shell and talk to her as well as others around me. Towards the end of my time there I was able to communicate and be around males (kids and adults). I would get to work with the horses, my favorites was/is Jimmy and Tessa; we would do ground work to help build my trust with animals then slowly towards humans again. We also would do basic farm care, which if you don't know if shoveling poop, watering the animals, turning horses in/out and even walk horses around who were on stall rest. Though my favorite part of being there was getting to just spend time washing the horses and then riding them bare back (yes you got wet but it is just a whole nother feeling, you get to be close to the horse and feel every movement under you).

Sarah D.14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hunkapi is absolutely amazing! I’ve been a volunteer there for two years now, and the care they provide to their animals is exceptional. They go above and beyond for their clients, and to watch these children and adults form connections to the horses is a gift. It fills my heart to know that Hunkapi is making a difference in the lives of others.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Love this place! Amazing staff and an incredible herd of healing horses and other farm friends. To watch a child blossom under the expertise of a skilled instructors, clinicians and behavioral techs is a wonderful thing. The strong leadership of foundering Executive Director, Terra Schaad , has created a comprehensive equine therapy program that helps everyone that participates - from clients, parents and volunteers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer at this amazing farm. They have great programs for their clients. They open their hearts to all people and animals! I feel so much peace after I spend time here.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This nonprofit came into my life at a time where I needed it most. Yes, I was there volunteering my time to help Hunkapi’s wonderful teachers and clients, but it truly gave back to me in the long run. The staff is amazing and the animals couldn’t be better. I’m so grateful to be apart of such a wonderful organization that are always investing and looking into different ways to improve their clients experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hunkapi Farms is a place where staff (two legged and four legged), volunteers, and clients open their hearts to love. All are accepted and healing happens in this place every single day.

Diana H.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a wonderful program! I help with gardening, therapeutic riding and farm care and always feel refreshed after the time I spend at Hunkapi Farms. I retired from the City of Phoenix after 27 years and wish I had discovered the Farm sooner because they do such great work for this community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There are no words to explain my emotional feelings for Hunkapi. I started volunteering in September of 2013 after the passing of my husband. Being at that farm truly saved me from the deep depression I was experiencing. Since then, I have watched so many children and young adults find love with these amazing horses. There is never a time that I'm there that I don't smile in my heart when I see the magic that Hunkapi is known for. My favorite day is Christmas when the Hunkapi opens their farm and their hearts to foster children. It makes me believe in Santa all over again.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

"Open Your Heart" is a most apt motto for this program. I have witnessed the transformative power of a horse, a caring and knowledgeable counselor/instructor and amazing volunteers help children of all ages with a number of behavior and emotional challenges, not to mention the physical therapy sessions to work with balance and control on persons with physical challenges. This farm in enveloped in love and it extends to the wonderful family of rescued animals as well as everyone that helps to make it so successful! Truly a gift!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hunkapi is such a gem of an organization! Not only are they providing a safe and loving space for families and people of all ages to explore mental & physical health and growth in life, but they are making homes for animals who have nowhere else to go. The atmosphere at the farm is warm and welcoming, and you can tell that every part of the operation is run with heart.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hunkapi is a wonderful environment for all the people they serve as well as the volunteers.

Kathy W.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hunkapi is such an amazing place to help people of all different abilities and circumstances. I am not able to volunteer a lot, but knowing that I get to love on these amazing creatures who unconditionally love their riders is such a pleasure! This is really hard work, but so incredibly rewarding. Love being a part of something greater than myself!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hunkapi is an oasis in the desert. Volunteering at Hunkapi has done so much for my mind, soul and heart. Caring for the horses has given me so much inner peace. It is a place filled with love and compassion. The staff at Hunkapi have created a safe, open and loving place for horses, chickens, goats, dogs, donkeys, plus a cow and a pig! Humans benefit the most though!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hunkapi is a treasure in our community. The care and love every staff member and volunteer give to the kids, adults, clients and visitors is genuine and abundant.
We are volunteers and find that we are treated with gratitude every moment we are there, which clearly increases our desire to be there more often. The values and principals displayed at this property are a model we should all follow.

Wendy C.6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over a year ago I was introduced to becoming a volunteer at Hunkapi .I was so touched by the farms' devotion to helping,teaching and caring not only for children & adults with life challenges, but the work they do to rescue horses and animals in need is amazing! Even if your only thinking to donate to help Hunkapi, I would recommend participating in their Volunteering Program to learn so much what the farm is all about.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Inspirational work, rescuing amimals, while building a sanctuary to provide services to a large segment of trauma or cognitively compromised. Truly a place designed to nourish kindness, and intentional community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered both as horse leader and animal caregiver at Hunukapi. The leaders, volunteers and patrons are all wonderful working toward the common goal of healing. There’s nothing more rewarding than to see a visiting child go from emotional meltdown at first to having the biggest smile on their face during their rides; leaving happy, full of pride and accomplishment.
I simply love this worthwhile place.

1 RoseAnn Bartolotta G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is so fitting that our Volunteer tee shirts say Open your Heart!! My Purpose in Life is to Give LOVE and Understanding from an Open Heart!! Everyone at Hunkapi from the Staff, other Volunteers and the Heard are there to serve!! I always say Volunteering at Hunkapi is going to my Happy Place!! The Giving loop is never ending because I don't think I speak for myself alone when I say that" we Get more then we Give" to the Clients that come to the Farm! I even had the opportunity to bring Flat Stanley(sent to me from my niece in NY) to the Farm this year to share the gift of Volunteering with him:)

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a treasure in the heart of Scottsdale! As soon as you go through the front gate, you feel like you are in another world! Every minute I spend at Hunkapi is a gift. Although I volunteer my time to help out, I'm receiving so much more than I could imagine. I see and experience first hand the amazing work that the staff does with the clients through the laughs, the smiles, and the progress from week to week. Everyone at the farm is so committed and dedicated to the vision of making Hunkapi a place of love and healing and helping.

1 Jean20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our volunteer t-shirts say Open Your Heart; sometimes I wear mine out and about just to remind people to be kind. I have watched so many great kids go through the program and become more focused and thoughtful and able to be in the moment with the horses. The minute I walk onto the property, I feel a sense of calm and I always hate to leave. Love the people, love the kids, and, of course, I love the horses.

1 Cynthia121

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering at Hunkpai last June. I absolutely love it. The farm is a placed filled with love. You cannot walk away unchanged. Seeing kids grow in confidience as they master skills is heart warming. Seeing a child with cerebal palsy strengthen their core muscles from riding and watching them walk better is priceless. The kids get to love on not only horses but chickens, pig, cow, dogs. The farm has 4 dogs but also fosters. The children hear the stories of how some of the animals were abused or from kill pens. The children learn empathy for others. and feel like they are not alone. Which is nice for some of our kids that are in foster care and have suffered abuse. We have a special saddle for some of our ALS, MS clients. Watching the joy on their faces getting to be on a horse again is priceless. This little farm is a great place for both kids, adults. They even have a garden you can work in. As a health care worker coming to this farm to volunteers brings me so much enjoy. A great place to relax and be outdoors. Parents even have a nice place to sit and relax as they watch their children ride. There's a fire in the winter and misters in the warmer months in the seating area. The staff and volunteers are there because they want to be. You will feel the love.

2 Beverly B.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I believe that to be happy, energized and optimistic I need to “give”. The challenge is always finding a place that resonates with the whole person, all of me. That’s what Hunkapi is for me. A place where I am totally free, accepted, encouraged, educated and supported. Hunkapi is a place where a little bit of help or a lot of help is always appreciated....even if I goof up! At Hunkapi “thank you”, “we appreciate you”, “we welcome you” is felt and spoken by every person there.

When I leave Hunkapi and I am simply a better and happier person.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am Madison and I am 15 years old, and I have been going to Hunkapi since spring of seventh grade so a little over two years. I have always had a love for horses and always wanted to be around them and help take care of them, also I like to help children in need or with disabilities. I became interested about Hunkapi because they are a second life for horses weather they come from kill pens to Olympic horse, and they help kids with what ever disability they have. They are really kind with everybody and anybody, they have never treated anybody unequal or looked down on them. If I ever had a question or was unaware of something they would always be willing to help out. The care they have for the horses to the volunteers is amazing, I don’t think I would like to volunteer anywhere else. Their facility is amazing and always clean, the horses never have a turnout pens dirty, always with clean water. They have somebody every hour going around cleaning the horses pens and water. The horses are always in well shape and condition. The workers and instructors are amazing with everyone. Hunkapi would always have a special place in my heart and I would continue to go until I can’t anymore! Highly recommend!

2 Suzi R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For the past 4 years my son has done volunteer hours for his High School requirements, and Hunkapi Programs has been a perfect fit. He has enjoyed being educated about how horse therapy helps people, and how he can contribute. He has learned how to prepare the horses to ride, and how to lead the horses when a therapy attendant is riding. He has also learned how to clean up and take care of the farm and animals. The owners and those in charge of the volunteers have deep hearts for the community, and make it a great experience for the volunteers and attendants alike. I would highly recommend volunteering for Hunkapi for both teens and adults. It will be a great experience!