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.
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.
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!
Sonrise has helped our daughter in so many ways:
Her speech- she has to call out commands to the horses
Her motor skills- She has to have proper form and know how and when to work the reins. Also, latching and unlatching the horse.
Her ADHD- She has to pay attention & focus in the moment when on and around the horses.
Her Anxiety- She has to remain calm when she's around the horses.
Her Social Skills- She interacts with the volunteers & other kids. They have to work together.
I have been a happy volunteer with SonRise since its inception 10 years ago. It is a very special program making huge differences in the lives of children with all kinds of special needs, both physical and psychological. The results are immeasurable and the pleasure as a volunteer to see this difference is priceless. The best part there is no charge for any of the programs with SonRise-children ride the horses and receive consistent mentorship for free, and other community programs benefit from SonRise as no additional cost. Almost all of the staff at SonRise are dedicated volunteers and the program is run with tremendous financial accountability.
Sonrise Equestrian Therapy has helped my Twelve year old Autistic son feel awesome. Sonrise offers free riding lessons to my son. He loves the connection he has with the horses there. The volunteers treat everyone like family and are so caring. I never met such loving people like those at Sonrise.
I am a volunteer Horse Handler and Travelling Tails volunteer..I love everything about Sonrise, the ranch, the people who work there, the horses are amazing and the kids are so sweet.
Sonrise is an exceptional non-profit organization. They do so much for developmentally disabled kids. It's incredible to see the children approach a horse with such trepidation, then to see them grinning ear to ear and laughing when they start riding. I've read a letter of gratitude from an autistic young man's parents who said the boy started speaking (to humans) for the first time after joining the program. And, all kids seem to come out of their shells around the horses. I feel privileged to have witnessed a tiny baby in a hospice program reacting to a mini horse's presence. It's magical!
Their mission is to "make a positive difference for youth living with social, emotional, or physical challenges, including terminal illness. Participating children develop confidence, integrity, and responsibility through mentoring and peer relationships centered around the care and enjoyment of horses." Sonrise Equestrian Foundation is doing just that, every week, every day. I'm so proud to be associated with this organization. When I saw the smiles on the faces of some of the developmentally challenged students when they mounted the mini horses, I knew what extraordinary people had created Sonrise!
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 is a very special organization that changes lives for the better. I have observed it from the outside looking in and also experiencing it from the inside looking out as a volunteer, team leader and former Board Member. The Executive Director has been steadfast with her commitment to making SonRise the best possible with programming and safety for the kids in last 10 years. The staff, volunteers and board members are top drawer. The kids and their families are the benefactors of this great organization.
I could see that riding at Sonrise gave my autistic son such a feeling of pride and
competence. The volunteers are patient, kind and encouraging. They are so
experienced, and calm and clear in their directions, that they achieved amazing
cooperation from my son....who can have really difficulties with maintaining attention.
I'm deeply grateful for their work
SonRise is a wonderful place where kids who might not normally be able to have a horse experience can connect with horses on an intimate physical and emotional level. Kids learn to groom, ride and take care of horses. Seeing kids connect with such a big beautiful animal is a very moving experience. A child who may not have friends at school, has a friend in one of the SonRise horses. SonRise is a place where kids are not only learning valuable motor and social skills, but learning to love and appreciate animals as well.
Sonrise provides an incredible place for volunteers to interact with their organization, horses, and children with development or physical disabilities. They make it so easy to volunteer your time, their training is great, and they provide ample opportunities that best fit your schedule, needs, skills, and passion. An incredible nonprofit with a very generous staff who cares about their volunteers, their horses, and most importantly the kids they work to serve!
SonRise is an amazing organization!! My daughter is very lucky to be a part of their program! The volunteers and the horses bring such joy to the kids! This organization is a blessing to many and I am thankful and grateful for all that they do. I love SonRise!
SonRise is a wonderful organization that my daughter has been lucky to be a part of for over 4 years. She's gained so much through this program and it's volunteers. I don't know where she'd be without it. Everyone is so generous and caring.
As a volunteer for several years, I have seen wonder in the eyes of ill children, smiles on the faces of those who have known sadness and pain and the thrill of accomplishment. Son rise has put happiness in the hearts of children and profound joy in the lives of their parents. Sonrise volunteers (and their well-trained horses) strive to add a little sunshine into the lives of those less fortunate - it truly is a wonderful, caring non-profit organization. Sylvia Coburn