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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Rose of Sharon Equestrian School Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Children & Youth, Human Services, Youth Development

Mission: Rose of Sharon is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults challenged by disability. ROSES provides experiential learning opportunities which draw upon the therapeutic potential of the horse-human bond to facilitate change, growth, and healing. Additionally, ROSES seeks a leadership role in the field of equine-assisted activities by partnering with academic and medical researchers to demonstrate the efficacy of therapeutic horsemanship programs; and by cooperating with members of Maryland's horse industry to provide vocational training for entry-level workers.

Results: ROSES has been serving students with disabilities for 15 years. The skills learned at the stable continue to effectively transfer to the students' lives in school, at home, and throughout the community at-large.

Target demographics: students with disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 100

Geographic areas served: Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Surrounding areas

Programs: equine-facilitated learning

Community Stories

145 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter loves participating in the Rose of Sharon Equestrian School! Each week she counts down the days before her session begins at this beautiful, serene facility. Previously to moving to Maryland my daughter participated in an equine therapy for people with intellectual disabilities; she really enjoyed the program but I noticed the teacher sometimes grew impatient when my daughter forgot steps previously learned. My young, adult daughter experiences a lack of lucid moments due to her mental challenges so I am over-the-top happy to have found ROSES. The director, Joan Twinings, is an amazing teacher. Before my daughter began the program Joan asked for a plan written by me to detail hurdles and set goals. She then tailored a specific therapeutic program just for my daughter, wow!
My daughter listens carefully to Joan's directions, asks appropriate questions, and follows through on various equine tasks. And I really appreciate Joan's attentiveness especially when my daughter is not lucid at times; Joan just knows how to draw my daughter's attention back with putting her down. This mutual respect builds confidence. I so appreciate Joan and the staff of volunteers who exude kindness, patience, smiles and joy; it's fun place to learn in!
ROSES is very clean and thoughtfully laid out for all abilities. We are very grateful to have discovered ROSES.

Lydia S.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a caregiver for an individual with a disability who is in a wheelchair. The Rose of Sharon Equestrian School is located on a beautiful property with gorgeous and clean buildings. The individual that I support was very excited that the farm was wheelchair accessible. Upon our arrival, we were welcomed by the helpful and friendly staff members. The horses were gentle and so sweet. She had a great time and wants to come back! Thank you Joan and staff for facilitating an amazing experience for the individual that I support!

Claire M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Rose of Sharon Equestrian School encompasses everything that a therapeutic center should be. The therapists do the important work of making a difference in the lives of each of their clients through the unique tool of horses. And at the same time, Rose of Sharon serves as a therapeutic haven for the therapists and volunteers. Anyone who steps foot into the barn at ROSES is welcomed with open arms (and hooves) and the community there is like no other. I have greatly enjoyed my time volunteering at ROSES, not just because I get to help clients achieve their goals or because I get to take care of amazing horses, but because they have taken care of me right back.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Roses has been a part of my life and my daughters life for over 17 years. Molly started as a student, learning how to groom and ride. She also gained self confidence and the lessons she learned from the horses is immeasurable. This moved from being a student to a volunteer and Molly’s love of horses grew. Her continued work at Roses has benefited our family as Molly has learned compassion and empathy, patience and self reliance.

I have been blessed to see the amazing work that Joan and the horses have done with children with autism and seniors from a retirement community. The change is amazing to see and shows the commitment of Joan and the wonderful programs that she has developed.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with ROSES for about 3 years. I love the therapeutic environment, the other volunteers, and Joan are wonderful. I really can't say enough about this facility and the individuals involved. Always a pleasure to visit ROSES.

J.G.



Client Served

Rating: 5

What an amazing, warm, nurturing and educational environment for people of all abilities! Every time my son Robb (who has Down Syndrome and autism) and I leave the ponies and Joan and her volunteers, we know we've had a very special experience. The group at Rose of Sharon has not only awakened skills in Robb, but at each visit he and I both enjoy an opportunity to learn about patience and caregiving through relationships with the ponies. We so appreciate any time we have with them all!

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a young girl, I would go to Roses on Saturdays with my father and grandfather. I learned how to brush, ride, feed and be around the horses. I grew to love one particular horse, Izzy. She would eat treats from the palm of my hand and let me hug her when we both needed a hug. The barn grew as i grew, with a new indoor riding arena, to allow the students and guests to be with the horses year round. Along with the arena, there were classrooms added as well. Most recently I was able to return home this summer from college and help produce a video about Roses and the mini horses and their new van. I was also able to spend time with Izzy. I miss Roses, Miss Joan, the ponies and all of the volunteers and hope to visit with them next time I am home. Julia

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ROSES is a setting where anyone, no matter their background or ability, can begin to thrive. The horses always seem to know exactly what each individual needs from them. With programs individualized to meet each students needs and where they are in their growth and learning, there truly is no other program like it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There will truly never be enough words to share how amazing Rose of Sharon Equestrian School really is, the beautiful setting, the talented people working there, and the love they give to make incredible changes! ROSES feels like home and welcomes all with open arms. They are an excellent example of how non-profits should function and give back to their communities.

lisar1

Client Served

Rating: 5

ROSES became part of our family. My 22 year old daughter started working with Joan at age 6 ; my daughter learned animal care at ROSES and developed a love for horses. We are forever grateful to all that Joan has taught us and grateful to have found ROSES.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

ROSES is home.
The horses will always be my daughter's special siblings, and there is no place on earth that offers serenity to all like ROSES.
Joan has done so much for so many, and is a true blessing to all.

Thank you.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

Joan and her team were remarkable! The team knew what they were doing and went the extra mile. They brought Cooper, one of their mini horses to our Senior Living Community to visit with our residents in celebration of Preakness. They went as far as to braid Cooper’s mane and bring black-eyed Susans to make the visit extra special. Our residents could not stop talking about how kind Joan and her staff were. And of course, they fell in love with Cooper. Joan and her team provided handouts, educated the residents on horses and answered all questions thoroughly. They went above and beyond from start to finish.

Joan and her team bring something special to the table: PASSION & JOY. And let me tell you, it is contagious! We couldn’t have been more pleased!

Kayla Hill
Blakehurst Senior Living Community - Wellness Director

Client Served

Rating: 5

Roses is a magical place. Joan Twining and her remarkable volunteers have created a unique and beautiful healing environment. Through unmatched talent in special education and equestrian excellence—Roses changes lives not just one student at a time—but one family at a time. The combination of love, animals and natural beauty make Roses worthy of the highest honor.

Writer

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at Rose of Sharon for 4 years. I have been witness to some amazing things with the people who have participated in the program. one young person who was completely scared of the horses overcame his fear and was able to touch and groom them. a memory impaired non verbal senior citizen sang to the horses. others felt comfortable with the horses in a way that their family had not witnessed before. Roses is an extremely well run organization and the barn is immaculate. the horses are so loved and well cared for. I wish that COVID was over so we could get back to helping kids and senior citizens. we have so much to offer. Cathy S.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer at Rose of Sharon and have found it to be a very worthwhile way to work with both horses and people with special needs. the barn is immaculate and the horses are patient and appreciative of the attention. I greatly admire the owner, Joan, for her for her organizational skills, compassion and willingness to devote herself to this worthy cause.

Donor

Rating: 5

I was so impressed with with the work of Rose of Sharon that I volunteered to shoot a video for them free of charge, Watching the children interact with the staff and volunteers is a moving experience. The impact on these kids is clear. And the devotion of those running this program is truly inspirational.
Here's the video I made for them.

Donor

Rating: 5

Earlier in the month of october rose of sharon was awarded the recreation accessibility award by baltimore county commission on disability. They are a fantastic non profit ada accessible barn and arena serving the needs of individuals with autism and with dementia. Currently undertaking a $40000 campaign for Winnie on wheels to bring the minis to schools nursing homes hospitals and life care communities

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Rose of Sharon Equestrian School is an incredible facility. It is one of the best designed and most well kept operations I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been in the horse business for a long time.
The staff at Rose of Sharon is professional, thoughtful, warm, and knowledgeable about both horses, and people with a wide spectrum of individual challenges. Joan and her staff are clearly passionate and thoroughly dedicated to their mission.
I highly recommend this program.
As a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease I was thrilled to see how excited and engaged my client was with the horses and the staff. I’m so excited to see this program enrich the life of someone who has so many challenges; her fears and anxieties seemed to disappear while we were there.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Roses truly exemplifies the value and appreciation of every individual's uniqueness, and focuses on their strengths , gifts ,and capabilities with respect and dignity.Roses is a magnificent reflection of its creator and leader, Joan Twining,a rare and visionary human being who continues to follow her dream of building and growing this exemplary equestrian center with passion, authenticity,empathy,kindness,compassion and a true belief in supporting each participant to achieve their greatest potential and independence through the soulful connection to horses.Each person involved in Roses' programs gains invaluable real world application skills that they are able to generalize to many aspects of their lives. Joan is driven by this work and pays impeccable attention to every aspect of each individual's strengths and needs to best serve them and so that they can give optimal care to the horses and continue to build their own self confidence .Roses is like no other organization I know in its sensitivity to the concept of oneness, the idea that we are all connected and important to each other.Thank you for your relentless, amazing work,Joan.I know it will continue to expand in the best of ways!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Rose of Sharon provides a unique sanctuary for the horses that live out their lives serving people and the people that come to learn, enjoy, strengthen and heal. It is a joy to simply be there. The facilities are truly amazing. The staff is welcoming and dedicated. The horses are wise and know how to reach out to each guest. They are very special! The programs are specialized and powerful. Thank you!

Board Member

Rating: 5

S Wheeler
Professional Horseman 40 years exp
Volunteer
Board member
Father of volunteer
I came to ROSES in 2005 as a Farrier. I was immediately impressed by the program’s attention to details; most importantly safety. After working with the horses for a year my daughter began to volunteer with the students. I credit the programs and Joan Twining as an important part of my daughter’s maturity and confidence. As I the program grew I began to volunteer myself. I saw first hand how ROSES writes a lesson plan for each individual student. Every week was another story of growth for her students. I saw how the family of these special people knew that their child was in a loving, caring and growing environment. ROSES is truly a special place and program

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I can't say enough about the dedication and genuine compassion of the staff, volunteers, and horses at ROSES. The authenticity of this farm-based experience goes above and beyond all therapeutic benefits I've observed in clinical settings. The dynamic sensory environment offers powerful modalities of motivation to individuals of all abilities. As a healthcare provider, I hope that more programs can grow and develop to be like this one, a place where interactions are both intentional and flexible to facilitate such powerful outcomes in the lives of everyone involved. The therapeutic horse industry has received a fair share of skepticism over the years, but as a person of science and research-based practice, I can attest to the effectiveness of using farm-based interventions to assist individuals with physical and mental difficulties across the lifespan. This is a place where children with frequent harming behaviors are out of an isolation room able to socialize with peers to groom a horse or assemble a harness. This is a place where older adults with dementia and their loved ones are able to connect over braiding a forelock and offer the horses a treat. This is a place that everyone deserves to experience, regardless of their abilities. - Jessica J. Rilee, OTD, OTR/L & PATH Intl. Registered Instructor

Volunteer

Rating: 3

I have been volunteering at Roses for the past 11 months. I help out by working in the barn, taking care of the horses.
As a volunteer at Roses, I enjoy interacting with the children and adults, providing basic horsemanship skills to persons with disabilities.
Joan, staff and volunteers are all so caring. Roses is an amazing place! I have found it a very worthwhile way to work with both horses and people with with special needs.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Growing up I have always been very scared and intimidated being around horses , every time I have a visit there I'm more comfortable being around the horses. Working with Joan and the team have been a pleasure for me . Going into an environment that is safe and clean and being around very professional people that also have lost of knowledge and experience with the horses that they are working with. And that's what makes me feel more comfortable every time I have a visit.....David Robinson

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer with ROSES, I regularly see the positive results that come about when the clients, young or old, interact with Joan's wonderful horses. The facilities, including an amazing indoor arena, offer a clean and safe space for learning about all things equine, trying new things, or just experiencing the sights and smells of a barn. It is truly a calm and restorative environment where individuals with disabilities can shine!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Rose of Sharon Equestrian School is not just another therapeutic riding facility. Where most facilities that offer equine-assisted education and therapeutic riding and other activities also have other lesson programs and boarders, ROSES was designed specifically for the role of helping youth and elderly. The facility is ADA compliant and private so students will feel safe and have fewer inhibitions from their disability than they may have at a more traditional equine facility. ROSES makes a difference in the lives of their students. Students who may struggle in their more traditional school setting are able to do tasks that their aides and teachers are genuinely shocked and over joyed to see them do. ROSES not only helps the student but helps those around the student understand the student has abilities beyond what they previously thought. The staff, volunteers, and horses at ROSES have endless patience and take the time to understand the student's needs.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a staff member at Broadmead, Inc retirement community and have joined the residents from long term care for equine therapy at the Rose of Sharon. When the residents are escorted off of the bus and enter the barn the wonder begins. Warm and smiling faces of the volunteers greeted us and the horses were waiting in their stalls. Each resident was received and taken to a horse and shown how to groom them. Different stories take place: words of love from a resident to a horse, memories spill out, a resident stands tall in the stall confident in his brushing.
Each resident has a dementia diagnosis often with short term memory loss; but many of the residents remember the horses names and talk about the experience afterwards.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Such an amazing organization. I have taken my residents for Equine Therapy and notice what a difference it makes. The residents have different forms of dementia but are remarkably able to remember Rose of Sharon and how to care for the horses. They always get so excited to go and connect with their horses and volunteers. The facility is beautiful, clean, organized and the volunteers are top notch. I would recommend Rose of Sharon to anyone.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We first went to Roses when our son was five. He has cerebral palsy and pragmatic language challenges. Joan and the volunteers at Roses treated loved and accepted John exactly where he was in his development. There was no judging, no pressure, no goals to be met, just a chance to take in the experience and be transformed by the magical environment. His spastic muscles relaxed, his confidence grew and he formed a special bond with the pony that was unlike any other in his life. He learned caring, empathy, responsibility and became a more effective communicator.

What we did not expect was the positive impact that our experience with Joan and her beloved ponies would have on our entire family. Our toddler twin daughters lost their fear of animals. Their love of all things outdoors and animals began at Roses. They spent many days in the barn and outside in the beautiful surroundings while John had his lessons.

John grew up and became an Eagle Scout and did his pivotal project to give back to Roses. John and his baby sisters are all in college now, but our memories of our years at Roses are still vivid and very special. Roses is far more than an equestrian school...it is a place of peace and transformation...
Debbie Veihdeffer

Pat G.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Joan Twining instills in her students a sense of self confidence and pride through working with her horses. Students are challenged to move past their fears of the unknown with her gentle and encouraging approach. Their success gives them the true feeling of accomplishment. Everyone attending Rose of Sharon leaves a winner!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son, William, loved his time with Cooper (a pony) at Rose of Sharon! William has ADD and was falling behind with reading when he was young. I believe William’s time with Cooper increased his self-confidence and helped push him towards wanting to read. He continued to speak about his time with Cooper for quite a few years after we stopped going. His time with Joan and Cooper were part of his self-identity when he was young.

Time with Cooper made William willing work on things that were very difficult for him to do, such as read a book out loud and write words. He also learned how to care for animals and feel special and capable because he was entrusted to help care for the horses. Despite the fact that he would have to do school work in the barn, William was always excited to go and be with both Joan and Cooper. He loved the entire experience.

William loved being part of the life of the barn—to the point that he even read the book Joan sent him to read at home!

William has just started high school and he does, in fact, read now. His comprehension is excellent, he just needed that extra push to believe he could do it and that it was worth the extra effort.

I hope that Rose of Sharon continues to grow, expand, and help others.


Volunteer

Rating: 5

Rose of Sharon Equestrian School provides an incredibly welcoming and serene environment for students, volunteers, and visitors to experience the marvels of therapeutic horse interactions in a meticulously clean barn. As a volunteer at ROSES, I always enjoy interacting with the students and watching the happiness ROSES is able to bring them. ROSES is directed by an amazingly dedicated individual who exhibits respect and compassion for all individuals, regardless of their limitations. I truly believe ROSES has made a profound impact on all of it's students' lives due to its unique setting, dedicated staff, and admirable philosophy.

lhtroyer

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Rose of Sharon for more than 10 years and it is always a heartwarming experience. From the individuals with disabilities that develop new skills and and open up to the sensory experiences surrounding them when they come to ROSES to the volunteers who now have a new passion because of the relationships they have developed with the clients and the horses and now have a new perspective of how animals can sense, care and transform those they come in contact with. The environmental surrounds are also so relaxing. The sense of peace and tranquility looking out to the fields and forest surrounding the farm to the small details that went into the construction of the barn and arena that support the needs of those with sensory issues. An amazing facility that has created amazing transformations for those who take the challenge to get involved and those clients who have been given the opportunity to be involved.
Linda Hutchinson-Troyer, CTRS

Previous Stories
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Board Member

Rating: 5

a great non profit organization that was started more than 11 yr ago. Primary focus is providing basic horsemanship skills to persons with disabilities;primarily those on the autism spectrum. Through a grassroot approach they were able to build a wonderful indoor arena that was designed for the needs of those with sensory processing issues. It truly demonstrates how it puts the ability in disability; for the participants and the equine partners.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my 6th year volunteering at Rose of Sharon Equestrian School . I started as a 2 hour volunteer. Each year my commitment, time, talents and financial giving has increased.

Today I volunteer year-round , sponsor 2 horses, sit on the board of directors, and have become one of the top donors. I have seen the miracle changes from the interactions of the therapeutic horses and the students working with them.

ROSES is so worth it. Disabled children are serviced as well as the elderly with the aid of the therapeutic horses. New programs are being developed from driving to occupational therapy to counseling. Roses also opens its doors to the community for meetings, workshops and clinics such as Alexander and Optimal Balance.

ROSES has a wonderful dedicated caring and talented director: Joan Twining. She is a very good steward of time, talents and resources , as well as an expert on horses and teaching the disabled and working with the elderly.

If you like kids, people, horses and helping: this is the place to be. ROSES could not exist without the help of others giving their time, talents, and financial support. This is an important time for ROSES as it looks to increase its services for a community in need. This can only happen with increased support.

Janet Knox


Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my 3rd school year volunteering at Roses. Each year I become more financially committed and more time committed. I help out by working in the barn, taking care of the horses and working with the students. 2015 means more commitment as we all work forward to learning about and training the minis to pull a cart as well as getting Stella, the horse more involved in lessons. It is a very exciting time at Roses. I hope anyone reading this will consider joining us and helping out. Janet Knox, volunteer

Read more

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I knew Joan, the owner of Rose of Sharon , as a teacher before she opened the Equestrian School and was always impressed with her passion for helping the kids. I've always wanted to find a funding source for Joan so she can fulfill all the aspects of her dreams ...the potential there is tremendous!!!
Haven't found the right investor but I've personally donated and helped a little around her property. BUT, you can never GIVE as much as you RECEIVE when you spend time with Joan and at Rose of Sharon!! Thanks for giving my grandson a lift when he needed it and for the marvelous care you take of all the kids who are lucky enough to find you AND the superb care you give to your horses. I believe the right
funding source is still just a few steps away!!! Bless you!!!

Donor

Rating: 5

Previously unfamiliar with horse therapy, I saw the life changing effect Rose's had on a dear friend's granddaughter. She blossomed in ways far beyond expectations...ways other therapies, while helpful..could not achieve. In addition, Rose's is led by one of the hardest working, most caring individuals I have ever met. It is truly an exceptional organization!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Rose of Sharon is an amazing place! We have partnered with them for a year now to bring the benefits of equine learning to our residents residing in Retirement Community. The volunteers and staff are patient, kind, understanding and so supportive in their work to create lasting bonds and benefits for our residents during their experience. We are so thankful.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

ROSES creates a personalized experience through every interaction with participants in their equine facilitated learning program. Participants have the ability to engage in so many different ways that meet their unique needs and interests. In my experience watching participants, it has been amazing to see the level of engagement in ways not always seen from participants in other settings. Their experiences at ROSES directly effects their quality of life in remarkable ways.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter is 19 and has Down Syndrome. She has trouble communicating with others and has sensory processing disorder. I learned about Rose Of Sharon through a friend who spoke very highly about what they can do to help children and adults with disabilities. I felt that the schools weren’t helping Carly to communicate. They would tell me this is all she could do. We all know our kids and know when they can do more if given the opportunity. Well my daughter has been with Rose of Sharon once a week for 11 months. She has learned to communicate more in 11 months than she has in school. She has learned to follow directions with no prompting. She has been able to tell me what she did during the time she was there. She has learned math measuring by getting the horses’ food for them in different spoon and cup sizes. She has even learned to read a little. When she is there you would never know she had Sensory Possessing Disorder. Joan Twining, the owner , Is the most caring person I have ever met. Everyone that works or volunteers there are just the same. The horses even get to know each child and seem to communicate with them in their own way. If you know your child and you know they have more potential than what they are doing, this is the right place to start.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Rose of Sharon is unlike any other equine assisted therapy school out there. I know, because I have experience with more than one, and a lot of horse experience...Joan has perfected the environment, and this is reflected in her barn of happy horses and happy students. Amazing and almost miraculous things take place at this barn, and none of it would be possible without Joan's dedication and work ethos- which is supported by her dedicated volunteers and few employees. Being at Rose of Sharon Equestrian School is LOVE. What this place offers is love, unconditional, nonjudgmental, open hearted love and acceptance and I believe that is one of the most powerful healing offerings one can offer. I am honored to know and love Joani and the Ponies, and only hope that they continue to find the support so that the good work will continue to be done.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Part of my work involves visiting horse facilities all across the country. I have seen horse showing and rescue barns, equine assisted therapy centers and sanctuaries. None of them can compare to the beautiful and exceptionally well maintained stables of Rose of Sharon Equestrian School! Right when you step foot on the grounds of ROSES you can tell that a great deal of work, dedication and love goes into both the horses and facilities. A truly warm, clean and inspiring place.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been working at ROSES for 5 months now and I absolutely love it. The people are amazing and the therapy has an incredible impact on participants. The joy and dedication with which ROSES volunteers and employees work is inspiring. The horses are also amazing! Izzie, Midnight, Stella, Cooper, and Ginger give it all they've got and are the best therapeutic horses anyone could ask for. The work done at ROSES is so very important and I am so glad to have the opportunity to be a part of it.

Rudzie D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Cooper attends Rose of Sharon weekly. Not only has he bonded with wonderful horses, he has also bonded with the staff. They teach him important lessons about life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have just just been a volunteer in a pilot program bringing dementia residents from a local CCRC to ROSES on a once a week basis. I was greatly impressed with the layout of the facility, the planning and thought that went into building it with cleanliness and safety in mind at every turn. As a lifelong horsewoman I know how much peace and joy equines can bring into people's lives, and these residents were no exception. It was obvious that being able to stroke, brush, comb, braid and talk to the horses brought them pleasure and hopefully enriched their lives.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The personalized equine facilitated learning program that ROSES creates for every one of their clients is remarkable. I have witnessed participants engaging life more fully as a result of their time at ROSES. The program seems to give each person their own "space" to engage actively as they feel called. As a result participants exercise their independence and through cooperation a unique experience is created that has an impact on their lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The first time I visited Rose of Sharon I knew I had found a special place, Just walking through the barn and seeing the horses has an immediate calming effect and I (as a volunteer) always leave with a sense of well-being. This effect is carried through to the students that visit. By working with the horses and the wonderful owner Joan I see the students gain self-confidence, and better people skills. I have watched a student go from standing in the corner to making jokes and holding entire conversations with others.
Joan is one of the most passionate and compassionate persons that I have ever meet. She deeply and truly cares for the animals and the people that she meets. She and the school have a deep impact on all the people that interact with them.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My grandson is on level one of the autism spectrum. His social skills are impaired and he has difficulty connecting with peers. He is unhappy about his lack of friends. He has never enjoyed sports and found BSA a bit overwhelming. As soon as he began at ROSE OF SHARON, we saw an immediate improvement in how he feels about himself and he is genuinely happy. He really looks forward to coming to Rose of Sharon every week. Joan Twining has unique gifts in terms of understanding each child's strengths and reinforcing them. I recommend her unconditionally!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love everything about Rose of Sharon! From the moment you arrive you feel a sense of quiet and calm that makes you want to sit on the bench outside the barn and stare at the hills all day. As an educator, I was able to set up volunteer work-based learning activities with Joan and her staff (who are all incredible!). Our students have learned valuable experiences that include; moving and spreading mulch, cleaning stall doors, heavy manual lifting tasks, and custodial work. The staff at Roses always pay special attention to our students and work with them every step of the way to complete given tasks with greater and greater independence. Not only do our students enjoy volunteering each week, but our school staff love visiting Roses with them as well! We could not ask for a better partnership for our school and our students.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I met Joan and learned of ROSES through my Girl Scout troop. My Cadettes (7th Grade) were looking to complete their Animal Helpers Badge and I was looking for a unique and interesting way for the girls to complete the badge. When I reached out to Joan, she was more than willing to help and the result was nothing short of amazing. Joan put together an experience for the girls that they will never forget. She is a wonderful teacher and the facility is nothing short of stunning. I cannot say enough to let Joan and ROSES know how appreciative I am of the experience that was provided for my troop.

steph55

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with ROSES as a parent of a student, a volunteer and a board member for the past 15 years. I have seen the miracles that happen when children with disabilities have the opportunity to interact with horses. Personally, my daughter gained self confidence, independence and self esteem along with an ability to work with others. ROSES has made a huge difference in my life and my family.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with ROSES for many years. First as a parent of a student, a volunteer and now on the board of directors. There are many wonderful stories of the students connecting with the horses, especially those with autism. ROSES changes the lives of these special kids. Joan does amazing things and truly makes a difference!

Read more
Mary Clark G.

Board Member

Rating: 5

All you need to do is step foot in the barn at Roses, and you know you have entered a special place. I have been a volunteer there for a year and a half, and it has quickly become one of the highlights of my week. Joan and the volunteers are some of the most dedicated and warm and caring individuals I have ever met. Once the kids come, the miracles truly start. Helping a child who has been withdrawn and hesitant and even sometimes angry in the classroom interact positively with a horse is nothing short of inspirational..Each horse has its own personality and Joan takes much care in assessing each child individually and assigning them a horse that will encourage the student to try new things which inevitably results in positive change. Roses is simply a phenomenal place.

Client Served

Rating: 5

ROSES is such a special place where wonderful things happen for children with disabilities. I saw it in my daughter when she was a student. Joan has created a safe haven where children gain self confidence while interacting with the horses and learning to care for them. My daughter became more confident and was proud of the work that she mastered at ROSES. There is no other place like ROSES!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

From the moment you set foot on the farm, you feel the warmth and compassion of everyone you meet. The staff and volunteers feel passionately about the horses and the students, they are dedicated to the mission of the organization and work tirelessly to better themselves and the services they provide.

1 Writer

Board Member

Rating: 5

ROSES is such a special organization. Everyone (whether it is the barn cat, the horses or the volunteers) is treated with an enormous amount of care and respect. The stories that I have heard about students' experiences are life changing. It is truly an honor to be involved in such a unique and valued organization. ROSES has been a part of my life for over 2 years and I am so excited to see what the future has in store for us.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Whether the children are staring into the eyes of one of the precious miniature horses, brushing Stella's soft, buck skin coat, having fun in the wash stall giving patient Izzie a bath, or simply feeling the warm breath and soft muzzle of Big Midnight, Rose of Sharon creates a bond between human and animal like no other. It all starts as soon as you enter the cozy, welcoming barn, where your mind is gently transported to a place where the outside world takes a back seat. And it's all topped off with the smiles and caring personalities of the volunteers. The children, their aids and volunteers all feel the power of ROSES instantly, and those feelings stay with you long after you leave the barn. That is what makes it so unique and why so many children have benefited from its magic.

The executive director, Joan Twining, along with the sensitive and gentle horses have found a way to break through barriers in children's minds without them even realizing it. It's truly remarkable, and as a volunteer for the past two years, I am so proud to be a part of this wonderful organization.



Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter has been volunteering at ROSES for a year now and asked me to come out this past spring to take a tour to see if I would also like to volunteer. The minute you step into the barn, you are captured by pure serenity. Joan Marie Twining and her horses have created the most welcoming, therapeutic safe haven where children and adults with special needs can come to gain self-confidence, inner strength and peace, which they rarely find in their daily lives. Her compassion for these unique individuals, along with the sweetest horses I have met, has transformed so many. I have seen first hand the once reluctant faces turn into ones with smiles and adoration for Joan and her horses. The past five months of volunteering have been some of the most fulfilling months of my life, and I will be around for a long time to help this great cause become that much greater.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ROSES is a very special and unique place. It is meticulously cared for by Joan, who lives to take care of the children and the horses. I immediately felt at home when I visited, and ultimately volunteered there. It is a real gem, tucked away in northern MD.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I could never fully express the worth of ROSES through words. ROSES has a huge place in my heart for SOO many reasons. I was introduced to ROSES over 13 years ago. Over those years here are just a few key reasons I continue to fall in love with ROSES...
1- After my Mom was in a tragic accident, volunteering at ROSES was therapeutic for me. Joan as a person is therapeutic, her presence alone is calming. Her heart & dedication to her horses & her clients is inspiring and never ceases to impress me!
2- While I was in school to be an Occupational Therapist I saw first hand the amazing physical progress a women healing from a brain injury displayed at ROSES, but best of all I saw her eyes light up & the deep passion she had horseback riding (& the gift it was for her to be back on a horse).
3- While in school Joan allowed us the privilege to work with her on a school project, where we were suppose to fill a need for her. But again- Joan's wisdom & therapeutic use of self probably taught us & impacted us in away that never leaves. (And yet she is so humble- always so humble)
4- When I began working at a school for children with Autism & behaviors Joan helped in writing a grant for some of our kids to be able to come weekly to visit & be treated through ROSES. ROSES reached kids & brought smiles & skills that were not seen in the school environment. Joan would also take any difficult case (e.g.- a student that didn't want to go into the barn & scared if the horse) & create a plan and program specifically for that student (outside if the group plan). By the end of the visits the students did a 180 & showed growth that I never expected to see!!
Joan, the horses, the staff & the volunteers that make up ROSES are spectacular and an answer to so many prayers on so many levels!!!

1 KKopanke

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Rose of Sharon Equestrian School has a dynamic and dedicated director, hard- working volunteers and big hearted horses who create an environment built for the personal growth of students and in turn, a greater awareness throughout the community. Developing a bond with such an intelligent and empathetic animal like a horse has many positive physical, mental and emotional changes when cultivated in the right environment. ROSES provides this engaging space with a great deal of care and compassion towards each student and horse and excellent volunteer training. What a wonderful place to grow and learn!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I first walked into Rose of Sharon Equestrian school I immediately felt a sense of peace. I had not met Joan, the horses or the other volunteers yet, so I could only assume it was because of the therapeutic atmosphere. I've come to learn after the 5 months I've been able to volunteer with ROSES that I was taking in so much more. The amount of hard-work and compassion poured into the school is very evident, and being a veterinary technician I notice it not only with the therapy program itself but also with the wellness of the animals. Each horse has their very own personality and needs and Joan, with the help of her staff/volunteers sees that these animals are beyond cared for so that they in turn can care for others. The horses at ROSES are naturally kind souls and it is a wonderful experience to interact with them. This is an inspiring organization that promotes wellness and empowerment in all of the best ways!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ROSES is one of those places that you go to for the first time and feel like you belong there. Joan is absolutely doing what she was born to do, and has created an amazing organization to showcase her passion. All of the volunteers are committed people who genuinely care about both the horses and the clients. Speaking of... the horses at ROSES are all so different, yet all serve such a specific purpose for the program. One of the best things about ROSES is that the environment and atmosphere in the barn creates a very welcoming and safe places for both the horses and the students to freely reveal their individual personalities. If you are already involved, thank you! And if you aren't, then you should be!!!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering at ROSES has been one of the best experiences of my life. The horses are all so sweet, yes, even the minis sometimes, and I know how much te kids love coming out there. It really is a great program that does a lot of good for the community and the kids whose lives it touches. Everytime I go out there, it puts my life in perspective and allows me to not only help myself, but more importantly help others. It is a truly remarkable thing they've got going on.

Sallys

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Rose of Sharon is a win win. The children are given opportunities to succeed in so many ways while the horses and ponies, many old and with varied health issues, are provided amazing care by Joan and her staff. If you love children and animals, this is the nonprofit for you. They couldn't be more deserving.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A wonderful organization that helps children with physical and emotional challenges feel empowered by connecting with horses. The immaculately maintained barn is home to a variety of horses and ponies with the very important job of teaching these special children things that could never be taught in a classroom.
I love the fact that Joan Twining, the director and owner, has combined her expertise to benefit children while providing a home and new lease on life to the barn full of horses and ponies that she lovingly cares for.
It is truly amazing to see the connection between the children and horses!!



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Former staff

Rating: 5

ROSES is a wonderful place! Joan and the volunteers love what they do and it shows! The horses are well taken care of and the horses thoroughly enjoy spending time with the students. I miss ROSES every day and wish I still lived in MD!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Rose of Sharon Equestrian School since May of last year. Because of my work schedule, I am not able to make it out while the students are there, but I can assure you that they are in the best hands. The horses are so gentle and the staff/crew of volunteers could not be more amazing. I recently joined the Board of Directors because I believe in this organization so much and want to do as much as possible to help them succeed. ROSES has changed my life and I cannot wait to be part of their future!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Rose Of Sharon Equestrian School is an excellent facility where both humans and animals benefit. The school has an extremely calming, healing atmosphere and magic happens there. It definitely is a Great Nonprofit!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Brooks Taylor and I am a Vocational Program assistant at a school that is provided services from rose of Sharon. First Joan and her assistants are fantastic people who truly care about the students success and they really are tuned in to the special needs of our children. With my school being a behavioral school their have been many situations in which I thought there was no way some of our students would benefit from attending the horse farm. Every time I thought this I was proven wrong. It is amazing to see kids who normally can not sit in a class room with other children, or has trouble dealing with animals, trouble with doing work, and etc... come to this program and shine so bright. Sometimes just because a student was able to attend Rose of Sharon they were able to make even more progress back in the school environment. This is because of the many skills they learn at the horse farm. Responsibility, team work, staying calm, caring for animals and other people, all these things are taught and absorbed like a sponge by even our most difficult students and has positively impacted our students lives. We could not be more grateful for Rose of Sharon program, Joan and all her help!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Rose of Sharon Equestrian School is truly unique and amazing. The school is set up to accommodate children with severe behavioral problems, which is a very difficult population with which to work. Traditional equestrian activities, such as grooming or feeding the horses, are adapted to help students fully participate. The skills that the children are gaining in this program can be generalized to school and home.

It is clear that Joan and her volunteers whole-heartedly love what they are doing. They are making a difference in children's lives that cannot adequately be expressed in words. I am beyond grateful that my students have had the opportunity to participate in this program.

Dawn124

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Rose of Sharon Equestrian School is an amazingly happy, fun, exciting place where lives are changed in the most positive ways!

Through interaction with loving and knowledgeable staff and, of course, beautiful horses, therapeutic riding creates bonds and improves lives - no other "therapy" compares!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We took our students to the farm and the experience was great. The staff was helpful and everything was organized and we were able to work on skills relevant to the student goals. There were a number of activities that I believe benefitted our students in a variety of ways. Students also enjoyed working with the staff and seeing the animals. I highly recommend the Rose of Sharon Equestrian School for students of all ages who have special needs. It was an outstanding and unique experience for students and staff and we look forward to our next trip.

GW