My daughter has only been riding with Sonrise for a few months but we have already noticed so many benefits. She is getting stronger and learning new skills that are increasing her self confidence. The volunteers are amazing- they are loving and in tune and truly care about my daughter's needs. We are so grateful for the program.
We came from Brazil one year ago. I was looking for horse therapy for my six years old son (he has cerebral palsy). Sonrise gave me feedback immediately. They told me about the waitlist, asked me about all medical reports, followed up all the time, and now we are so happy and proud to be part of the Sonrise family. They are there for you since you meet them. They are professionals and very kindly with the kids and the animals. Horse therapy is an important activity for many disabilities. For my kid, the horse connects him with his body, improves his trust, and prepares him for other therapies. I thank Sonrise for all that they do for my son.
Our daughter Calista is 13 years old and has been going to Sonrise Equestrian Foundation for the last 3 years. There is no other place like this were she gets to groom the horse to establish a connection, work with the horse therapists and improve on her skill tailored to her learning needs. The staff is so patient with her and you could tell that they love what they do. Calista often looks back in my camera to find her videos to re-play how much fun she had at her lessons. Calista does not have many words but she will express that she wants to go horseback riding again and again.
My son, Will, has Down syndrome and receives free therapy from Sonrise monthly. He adores the horses and takes pride in caring for them before riding. He has so much fun at his lesson that he doesn’t realize that he’s working. The activities require him to think, use hand eye coordination and work on core strength training. After his lessons, he enjoys telling me which horse he rode and all about the fun he had riding. Sonrise is a special organization and the people that work with Will are incredibly patient and loving.
I wanted to thank the SonRise organization for what they offer families of children with disabilities, including providing my 10 year old son who is on the autism spectrum with an opportunity to have an amazing experience riding horses. Besides being non-verbal he suffers from high levels of anxiety. The SonRise team on multiple occasions have shown him great patience. He's thoroughly enjoyed his sessions and the smiles we see on his face are priceless.
SonRise is a wonderful organization that my daughter very much looked forward to attending each week. She enjoys connecting with the horses and was so excited when she got to ride one for the first time. The volunteers help children with special needs to feel included and recognized.
At SonRise, every volunteer's time and energy is valued, whether you are mucking stalls, grooming horses, or working with the teaching and sidewalking teams and the riders themselves. Better still, you always know exactly where you can help and what to do, thanks to Miriam and the passionate volunteers, some of who have been there since the start. I learned so much every day about horses and people, I felt like I should have been paying them.
Sonrise is a charity that I can give to and totally trust the reliability that all of the proceeds go to helping the challenged children that it blesses...I do not have to worry about wastefulness or mismanagement . The volunteers are experienced and well trained . The horses are well trained, taken care of and cooperative. There is no charge to the parents of the children and Sonrise schedules for the convenience of all involved. They go overboard to make sure there are no accidents and they even to children's hospitals with mini horses to bring smiles to their faces. I love this foundation.
I am proud to be a volunteer for Sonrise because I know that they operate under strictly meticulous ethical values in both operations and in working with the children. I am proud of the incredible patience and kindness that they show the children with physical and mental issues and with fairness to all. Sonrise leaders are are carefully chosen. The proceeds are carefully spent. The executive director and the board members are of outstanding character.
Sonrise does an incredible job providing children with disabilities an opportunity to experience ranch life and time on horseback. The outreach programs at Children's Hospital and the George Marks House allow children who are hospitalized to spend time with beautiful miniature horses. This organization is absolutely exceptional.
It is amazing to see the kids bonding with the horse. I love SonRise!
One girl, while riding Nobel , said "you can't see under my face mask, but I'm smiling big!" SonRise is a place where kids with all kinds of issues can be successful while being cared for by a beautiful, peaceful horse. It's magical.
SonRise Equestrian Foundation is an amazing nonprofit which has helped me grow as a person volunteering there. I’ve learned how to interact with children and this has helped me become a riding instructor at a different barn. I’ve also learned compassion by watching the other volunteers help the disabled children care and ride for the horses.
It’s all about the horses and the kids. Such a caring and giving organization. All the volunteers are so nice.
I have been volunteering there for almost three years and I don’t think I will ever want to stop being a volunteer at Sonrise.
As a volunteer I can not say enough good things about this program. It is run in “top notch” fashion. The horses are constantly trained to meet the high standard of safety that this organization stands for. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and caring. It offers various programs focusing on varied groups of children. Watching the faces of these children is so rewarding. The staff is so dedicated and loving and spend a lot of time training their volunteers which makes the programs run so effectively and safely. To me, the word that best describes this program is “magical”. As a volunteer it is such a joy to be a part of their team.
I have volunteered for Sonrise for many years and love it. The combination of kids and horses is the best. I love to see the difference it makes for each individual child.
Everyone who volunteers there is so caring. The community of Sonrise is really special and I am the one blessed by being a part of it!
This nonprofit is absolutely amazing. I had the pleasure of volunteering this year and the way it is run is so professional. The staff are welcoming and kind and they truly care about the kids they are helping. Sonrise as a whole responded really well to the pandemic, using necessary safety precautions while also making it possible for riders to experience most of what Sonrise typically offers. Their care of horses and their riders is simply exceptional and I recommend that everyone check them out. Sonrise provides children with the unique opportunity to grow in their confidence as a rider while also enhancing their physical and social well-being. It is such a blessing to have an organization like Sonrise helping others.
I have known the people who are the backbone of Sonrise for a number of years now. The detail and the day to day maintenance of a program like this is considerable. Everyday the care of these special animals and the organization of cleaning, exercising, training (both horses and volunteers) is truly an act of compassion for the end use....which is providing a lifeline to disabled children. I've seen it over and over. The smiles on the faces of children who face lives and difficulties most of us will never know. It is a great nonprofit dedicated to doing it safely and doing it right.
As a volunteer at SonRise, I've been able to see first-hand the incredible work SonRise does to serve Bay Area children with special needs across (all four!) of their programs. SonRise is the only organization in the Bay Area that offers therapeutic horseback riding lessons to children free of charge—how wonderful is that!
Since I began volunteering with SonRise in 2019, I have been thoroughly impressed with their vetting process, training, safety precautions, and ultimately how they change kids' lives for the better.
Every school, hospital, volunteer, parent, and child I have seen SonRise partner with have seemed to be overjoyed to work with SonRise. From everything I've seen, SonRise has an endless heart for the children they serve, prudent stewardship of their resources, sincere gratitude for their volunteers, and a mission fueled by pure love.
I am honored to be a very small part of the very big thing that SonRise is doing, and pray that the community continues to support them and their mission for years to come.
I’ve been at the same ranch, watching them grow from the first year, and have observed the program every week for over 10 years. They are AMAZING!!!
Professional, ethical, devoted volunteers and staff. I have seen their many different clients and heard the stories of their successes. I’ve seen the smiles and grins on the children’s faces, and their families. They make a significant impact in the region.
Please join me in supporting them. Every penny counts and is put to good use.
After attending a fundraiser several years ago for SonRise Equestrian, my husband and I were moved to become monthly supporters and occasional volunteers of this life-changing nonprofit. SonRise (the horses, the staff and its volunteers) is bringing hope to the children and their families who are developmentally and physically challenged . Donations are not wasted. Those who operate SonRise are invested personally, emotionally and financially. They work long, hard hours. My husband and I not only believe in the work SonRise is doing, we also consider it a privilege to be a tiny part of the impact they are making in the lives of others.
SonRise is a wonderful program for all who are involved, from the children, to parents, to siblings, and even the volunteers. We all benefit in one way or another. And none of it would be possible without the amazing horses who are special beyond words.
As a parent volunteer and retired police officer, I have seen SonRise fulfill a necessary role in assisting parents with developmentally disabled children and teenagers. SonRise shows kids they are cared for and loved not only by others, but also by the horses there at SonRise. It is a joy to see how young people are able to establish connections with the horses they have contact with. The teenage young adults I work with have much potential and it is a pleasure to see how fast learn and how much they can accomplish.
As the recipient of equestrian therapy when I was young, I know first hand the incredible sense of empowerment that comes from this type of therapy.
As a psychotherapist now later in life, I can fully appreciate the benefits of individuals working with horses in this capacity.
SonRise is the most incredibly well structured and encouraging environment one could imagine.
I have seen the tremendous support individuals who have participated in one of the many programs have benefited from.
The programs do not just impact the individuals directly involved, but have a lasting and remarkable positive impact on the entire family structure.
The relationship between horses and people might be mysterious to those who are not familiar with the beautiful animals. Horses are incredibly sensitive to to peoples’ needs and can provide healing in many aspects of one’s life.
SonRise provides a safe, nurturing environment that truly encourages growth and empowerment.
Equestrian therapy is often overlooked as a healing therapeutic tool, and it shouldn't be. SonRise Equestrian is an invaluable service to our community. Their services are top-notch. Children everywhere (home-bound, hospital-bound, and at camp) benefit tremendously from the horses and professional staff. Their impact doesn't end there but ripples through the entire family.
This is a wonderful program for at-risk teens called "Helping Hands," which teaches youth about handiwork on a ranch, as well as horse care. The volunteers are caring and teach youth helpful skills as they develop their work ethic. As my son says: "Everyone is happy to be there, it's relaxing, and it's the type of place where you can't imagine anything bad happening." The degree of care and personal interest displayed by the youth mentors is absolutely exceptional. Highly recommended!
SonRise provides a much needed service to the community. Children with a variety of needs can find new confidence, friendships and beneficial physical activities while working with and riding the horses. The Traveling Tails program is a wonderful way to take horses to hospitals and camps so that more children can experience the special gifts a horse can offer.
This Foundation is well run, and, in my opinion, uses their funding wisely. I happily volunteer my time, and give financially toward their programs.
The SonRise staff, young people, horses, and volunteers are simply the best of the best! Working with the Helping Hands group, sidewalking on Traveling Tails trips, and spending time with the minis and ponies have all been experiences that have enriched my life tremendously. Alana and Lauren Koski have modeled loving support and compassion in all they do, and I'm so grateful to know and work with them. SonRise has positively impacted many lives, including mine!
I attended a fundraiser for SonRise at Charles Wilhelm’s ranch four years ago, and after meeting the staff and watching the children on horseback, I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of this wonderful organization. I volunteer on Wednesdays as a ranch hand and as a sidewalker when we travel to Alma Preschool, Dublin Elementary, and George Mark Children’s House where the children can meet, groom, and ride the mini horses. It’s truly heartwarming to watch the children interact with the horses and to hear their teachers describe how even their non-verbal students “talk” for days after the minis visit. SonRise provides many services for special-needs children, and as a bonus, they rescue horses in need as well. I’ve seen firsthand just how compassionate, committed, and dedicated the SonRise families and staff are, and I’m proud to be part of this caring community. As a retired teacher, I give SonRise top marks for excellence in giving from the heart! :^)
Great leader ship
Seeing the work they do is almost like watching a miracle
SonRise Equestrian Foundation serves kids with special needs. But they aren’t the only ones they serve... SonRise serves the families and caregivers by providing a safe and knowledgeable staff to whom they can entrust their child for an hour or two. During that time they know their loved one is being loved on and cared for and they can sit down and collect themselves in a beautiful setting. They can step back from being hands on and rest. They see their kids do things and accomplish activities they don’t do anywhere else.
Amazing staff and volunteers working with loving equines of all sizes. Miracles happen every day here.
A great organization that has helped so many children.
SonRise is such a fantastic nonprofit! They have so many different programs that benefit people with particular needs, and don’t even wait for the people they can help to come to them. I’m so blessed to be connected with such a great group!
Sonrise Equestrian Foundation is an amazing program for special needs children. I have sponsored their Wine and Equine event for 5 years now, if you have not gone to this wonderful fundraiser I highly recommend it.
I have been volunteering for Sonrise for over 10 years. I have gained so much and have been blessed by all the support of the program over the years. From all the experience I have been able to help guide others to volunteering and each one of them has been so fulfilled.
I've been with sonrise for 2 years they've helped me in so many ways the horses and staff are amazing they've given me the best two years and i'm so looking forward to many more.
SonRise is a brilliant program for kids with special needs. Not only does it help the kids, but it helps me go through my struggles in life. When I'm here all of my worries go away. The horses are the smartest creatures I know. The staff are amazing at taking care of the horses, and each other. Everyone (including horses) are so comforting. Thank you for letting me be free, and for being myself.
Even though I have only been with sonRise for a few months i love coming here every week to help volunteer. Having this group is like having a second family, the people i work with are very nice and kind people.
I think i have been at Sonrise for 2 years now and i am so happy i got to join Sonrise is an amazing program and helps kids and teens out a lot with many problems and its helps me a lot through going back to school first time in middle school coming from homeschool
SonRise is an amazing program. Working here as a volunteer you meet so many new and amazing people. This program is not only life changing for the kids in it but also the volunteers. The people I volunteer with are like a second family. It allows you to open up and not worry about being judged. Overall this program is amazing. I would highly recommend this program for anyone that is looking for extra volunteer hours.
I volunteer at sonrise helping hands and it's been a great bonding experience for me and my sister. I've become really close with everyone and it's overall made me a better person and better at my teamwork skills.
I have been involved with a number of non-profit organizations but non with as much bang for the buck as SonRise. And their services are free for kids in the program. It is funded by community donations! Best of all, it is remarkable to see the positive impact horses can have on kids with special needs.
I have been a volunteer, donor and board member at SonRise for a number of years. I never cease to be amazed at the positive impact that horses have on special needs kids. The well trained volunteers and staff make it all work. It is a place where I can see and feel the difference my support is making in kids lives.
SonRise is an impressive program. The staff members and volunteers are organized, educated and passionate about serving Bay Area children. This program has been sustained more than ten years by community donors, volunteers and cheerleaders -- adding to their credibility and strong track record.
But the true story is seen in the faces of the children and families who come through the program. Parents arrive their first day hopeful and relieved to see a group of folks who care about their children, even on the bad days. The kids are sometimes scared of the thousand-pound animal, but by the second or third visit they realize how such a huge animal can provide the comfort and security they've been looking for.
If you're looking for a place to volunteer with purpose, SonRise is it!
If you're looking to financially support a transparent, responsible program for kids, SonRise is it!
My daughter was 9 years old when she started pulling out her eyelashes. Then her hair and her eyebrows. What we thought was stress turned out to be trichotillomania, an impulse disorder. A friend who just happened to volunteer at SonRise suggested we put our daughter into their program, and with our therapist's blessing, we did. Words can't express how amazing SonRise is...our daughter learned about horses: brushing, walking, cleaning up after them, even riding. But she was also learning how to calm herself, love herself, and ask for help. SonRise Equestrian is a unique and very special program with incredible people! We are so thankful for them~
My daughter Veronica was 10 years old when she started pulling out her hair, eyelashes, and even her eyebrows. Talk therapy helped a little with her trichotillomania, and then a friend suggested Sonrise Equestrian. After a little bit of shyness around the people (the horses were no problem!), Veronica fit right in. The gentleness of the horses and the loving commitment of the volunteers were exactly what she needed. From helping brush and exercise the horses to cleaning stalls, then riding lessons on to being a volunteer herself, my little girl has grown into a wonderful, loving young lady. She hasn't 'pulled' for quite a while, and the program and people at Sonrise are a huge part of that. Thank you, Sonrise, for all you do!
SonRise Equestrian Foundation was a must during my daughter's recovery while she had Leukemia. The therapy she received with horses gave her an outlet from her day to day struggles. The staff is incredible hands on friendly. They gave her hope and something to look forward to. These times during treatment were very difficult. I do not think we could have gone through them without the help of SonRise. This is a wonderful program. Our daughter is now 10 years old. A 4 year cancer survivor. She remembers every horse she rode and the staff. Thank you for beautiful memories and for helping us get through our hard times.
Last summer my daughter, who was born with special needs due to a lack of oxygen at birth, and I volunteered at SonRise Equestrian Foundation. My daughter is living proof of how equine therapy can change the life of special children. I was a bit worried that my daughter would not be accepted to volunteer at SonRise. But after completing SideWalking certification with SonRise and being interviewed, she was accepted. The programs Director said to me that volunteering for many is also "therapy". That they would find roles for my daughter where she would feel useful, be safe, and insure the safety of all.
I decided to also volunteer. I watched a young boy who had not been verbal all of the sudden say "walk on" as he had been instructed during classes for three days but never had spoken. I watched this child and others over our weeks volunteering and knew that lives had been changed forever! Just like that of my daughter's. I have photos I'd love to attach, but SonRise are very strict in requesting all volunteers to keep private our photos as some families are sensitive to photos being posted. If photos will be of help, I will certainly seek permission. SonRise far exceeds any other place I have been offering equine therapy with safety and it goes without saying love and kindness for all that volunteer and attend clases there.
It was suggested that I get involved in community 9 years ago and I thought I don't have time. What I learned from volunteering is that everyone has time to make a difference in someone else's life. When you do so your life changes in a way you will never have expected. This is my experience and with out Sonrise and their mission and service to the community I would not be the person I am today. Sonrise has given me the tools to move on to help other non profits but Sonrise will always be my favorite and most inspiring.
My son took free horse back riding lessons for two years with Son Rise. It has been a great experience for him. He is always very excited to go to Son Rise. It really makes a difference in his life. The volunteers are so nice and patient with the kids. Thanks for the wonder work with our special need children.
I have been a volunteer at SonRise for about two years. I really do not do much other than welcome the parents and their children to one of the programs run by the foundation. However, I have found that I get a great deal of enjoyment watching the kids and how much fun they are having working with the horses. I also appreciate how much the parents of the children welcome a brief time to watch their child enjoying themselves. I can only imagine that SonRise offers these children and their parents this type of pride and joy in their challenging lives. I must also say the skilled staff and other volunteers I work with help me feel like I am making a valuable contribution.
This is an amazing nonprofit that uses horses to help children in need. They have a therapeutic riding program that is free for children with disabilities. They also have a traveling tails program that takes miniature horses and ponies to schools, children's hospitals, and children's hospice centers. The connection children make with horses is amazing.
SonRise equestrian foundation is an awesome place for children and volunteers alike. Every time I volunteer there, I see miracles happen. This place deserves 5 stars!!!
Sonrise has been a bright light in my daughter's life. This is a place where our differently abled children have the opportunity to learn and grow while refining their physical and emotional skills. The entire staff is so gifted and genuinely loves the children they serve. Even on days that have been difficult for my daughter process her world, somehow Sonrise and their beautiful horses have been able to break through and make strides with her. Therapies are soo costly and without Sonrise we would not be able to give my daughter this opportunity. Thank you Sonrise
The wait list is long, but worth it! SonRise has been such an amazing and supportive experience for my daughter. She was so nervous when she first stepped into the barn with all the big horses around her, but the staff was patient and really worked with her to get comfortable. And now she loves riding Blackie (the miniature horse), routinely requests to see him at home and looks forward to each upcoming lesson.
My daughter has Down Syndrome and the general low muscle tone and delayed speech that accompanies it. Riding Blackie was so fun and physical that it elicited a variety of new spontaneous speech for her. Their games and activities were very appropriate for her age level and the staff always provided much physical support, as my daughter was not strapped into a saddle which maximized working on her core strength and overall endurance. Pretty incredible when you consider they encouraged my daughter and Blackie to trot around the course.
I've always heard from therapists that Gross Motor and Speech can be complementary. And to some effect, I've seen this when my daughter is on a playground slide, swings or a trampoline. But when these therapies are combined with caring, riding and respecting a real live horse, this becomes an all-encompassing exercise with a natural emphasis on behavior. The dynamic is like no other therapy we've experienced. She is working on so many multi-planar elements, but just doesn't know it because she's outside and just having so much fun.
SonRise offers two summers worth of sessions per child (and then some), free of charge. We've looked into other horse riding therapy places and the prices are steep with no hope of even partial reimbursement from insurance. SonRise is so unique and special in this respect, allowing families to experience the benefits of hippotherapy who otherwise might not be able to.
We are grateful to be a recipient and SonRise is a GreatNonprofit !
I have been volunteering for SonRise Equestrian Foundation for the past 6 months, and it has been the most fulfilling and rewarding experience of my life! Just seeing the smiles on the children's faces as they interact with the horses is priceless! SonRise has the most remarkable staff of instructors and volunteers who put so much time and energy into the program every day. The horses are so gentle with the children and are what make the SonRise program such a safe and special opportunity for these children.
I love Amigo and Treasure and Sarah.
I do my five special steps and wear my boots
I love riding my horse.
Thank you so much.
Leah - age 7
I love working with all of the committed volunteers and participating children and teens at Sonrise Equestrian. As a retired teacher I had dreamt of getting back to my love for horses and continuing my work with children. Everyone I have worked with has been selflessly immersed in helping these young people through their connection with horses, helping them to persevere in the face of whatever challenge they might be up against. Through this innovative use of the child's attraction to the horses they naturally developing a can-do attitude and new confidence in themselves.
I volunteer at SonRise and I love everything about it. I feel blessed that I get to help out with such an amazing cause and work with such amazing people. Everyone in SonRise is so kind, caring, and loving.
They have help my son so much it is amazing how riding horse help my child that is autistic and add just come out of his she'll better and be able to so such compassion to animals where he use to be a bit mean to them.
My son has been riding with Sonrise for a year now. This is a wonderful opportunity, where riders learn not only horseback riding but also how to care for and prepare a horse for a ride. Sonrise volunteers and the staff are gentle and kind, but have high standards that are appropriate to each child's level of function. Amazingly, Sonrise makes this opportunity available to children with special needs at no cost to the family. This level of generosity, and understanding of the financial demands that are placed on a family that includes a child with special needs, is very unusual. Thank you, Sonrise!
I love horses and I love helping people, so as a volunteer at SonRise I have been able to have the best of both worlds. SonRise does an amazing job helping people with physical disabilities, as well as other needs. They provide their services to anyone & the horses truly help the people in need, as well as help the volunteers.
Outstanding staff and volunteers loving on kids that have challenges. A place where children can flourish while interacting with well-kept gentle horses and skilled helpers. Highly recommend!
Hi my name is linda I am writing this in regards to my daughter jessie who is a participant at sonrise who is disabled with special needs I love the way they work with her,very patient and understanding. I love how they give all their kids one on one attention.my daughter always comes home smiling the staff at sonrise are truly amazing people when my daughter was not able to make it to the ranch due to knee surgery they came to her that was so awesome they made my daughter feel so special that's what I love about sonrise. My daughter is learning social skills,horse science and how to be responsible which I think is awesome all and all sonrise is truly an amazing place for kid's me and my daughter both love it there especially my daughter.
Sonrise is a place where I was looking to spend some quality time with my daughter while demonstrating to her the importance of helping others. We love being there with the kids while interacting with the horses in this therapeutic environment. Even though we are there to help the children, I feel a sense of healing and therapy while being there. The sheer joy that is on the faces of the children while riding a horse that magically adapts to the child's abilities is remarkable. Sonrise is a wonderful foundation.
Sonrise Equestrian Therapy has really helped our almost non-verbal kid. Now, he loves Horses can call the Horses names and the command. Its like having Physical , Occupational and Speech Therapy in one place. Thanks to all the Teachers and the Volunteers for doing such an awesome Job.
I have had nothing but good experiences with the people of SonRise. They are very supportive of all the volunteers and the volunteers and staff are get with their clients. SonRise provides a ray of sunshine and hope to the children and their families. I got involved and knew nothing of horses or equine therapy. However in a very short time I could see the incredible value this organization provides those in need in the community. Believe me, these women do an incredible job!