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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Children & Youth, Mental Health, Mental Health Treatment, Youth Development Programs

Mission: SonRise Equestrian Foundation is a free, non-profit organization making a positive difference for children living with social, emotional, or physical challenges including terminal illness.

Target demographics: children facing social, emotional, and physical challenges

Geographic areas served: Alameda & Contra Costa counties

Programs: In the Saddle - a horseback riding program geared towards children facing physical and developmental challenges. Lessons partner one child, one mentor, and one horse for a 45 minute session, which includes some grooming and saddling if the child is able. Lessons are personally tailored to accommodate the special needs of each child.

Team Equine -a working ranch program geared towards children facing social and emotional challenges. Supervised by adult volunteers, the kids participate in chores, horse science, riding, and arts & crafts. The activities incorporate life skills like responsibility, work ethic, empathy, and manners. SonRise fosters an environment where the kids can build solid relationships with each other and with positive role models in a healthy community..

Traveling Tails - a program that brings miniature horses into children’s hospice and care homes to visit children who are near the end of life or facing serious medical issues. The minis also visit special needs schools and camps, working with children who have autism and other developmental delays.

Community Stories

58 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

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~

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Renee93

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Love this foundation. The work they do with the kids is amazing.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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