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SonRise Equestrian Foundation

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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

72 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Amazing staff and volunteers working with loving equines of all sizes. Miracles happen every day here.

Dianne G.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A great organization that has helped so many children.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1 Mike H.4

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

2 Alyssa H.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1 Rochelle P.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

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
1

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!

1

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.

1

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.

1 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.

1

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.

1

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.