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2016 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

111 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

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.

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!

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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.