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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Spring Reins of Life Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: To provide a safe, healing and empowered path to peace, positive growth and self-guided recovery for those suffering trauma and loss with the assistance of horses as our guides. Spring Reins of Life is dedicated to promoting psychological healing, emotional well-being and personal growth using the skills of mental health professionals and the assistance of horses. For thousands of years there has been a unique bond between humans and horses, it is our mission to enhance and leverage this bond to reach those individuals who are suffering from the effects of trauma, loss, drug addiction and/or the combined stressors and obstacles set forth by either circumstance or societal confines. Spring Reins of Life is an EAGALA Model certified program which provides EAP and EAL services to at risk / high risk youth, military veterans with PTS/TBI and their families, bereaved children and addiction recovery. All of our services are provided for no cost or very low cost based on public and private tax deductible donations awarded to our programming.

Target demographics: At Risk / High Risk Teens, PSTD Veterans and Families and Children in Bereavment

Direct beneficiaries per year: 180 PTSD hospitalized veterans with PTSD, 58 at risk teens from New Jersey, and 15 young children who are grieving a loss in their life. We have interest to do much more but seek the funding to continue and expand this work.

Geographic areas served: Central New Jersey

Programs: EAP (equine assisted psychotherapy) under the international EAGALA Model. Spring Reins of Life is the first program in NJ to earn the "EAGALA Military Services Provider Certification" and also was just awarded a pilot contract from the state to work with the NJJJC. Ground based interactions with horses with the guidance of certified and licensed mental health professionals can provide an alternative and experiential (solution focused) way to resiliency in trauma without having to "talk about it".

Community Stories

29 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A few months ago I became a volunteer for Spring Reins of Life. This amazing Nonprofit works with our US veterans and children who benefit from one of the most powerful healing beings we've been blessed with. Horses! Recently I was able to see for myself the direct, positive effect this has on those in need of a peaceful, safe and healing environment through the direct connection with these magnificent horses. I am so fortunate to have the chance to be a small part of Spring Reins of Life!

Jessica299

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with this program since April this year and have been nothing short of blessed in every way. I may be the volunteer but I am benefiting from my involvement more than I could ever repay in work. It is therapeutic for me just to be around CC and her healing herd, so I feel honored to contribute in a small way to the success of a program that helps such deserving groups humanity. our youth and our veterans deserve our best and SROL is among the high quality of services that we should provide to our fellow humans suffering from the darker sides of humanity. Thank you CC and the Herd for being such a beautiful source of healing light in this world!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5



Spring Reins of Life is a wonderful organization with whom to work. CC and the other volunteers were great and really pulled together to make events succesful and fun! I'm so glad I got to be a part of different aspects of the organizaton, from big fundraising events, to session demos, to helping with horse management. As someone in the veterinary field, I'm honored to have been able to help the Herd: the most amazing, gentle, wise group of animals I've ever has the pleasure of working with. Through Spring Reins of Life, the work CC and the Herd do is so important, and I hope she continues to make a positive difference in the lives of those that need and extra nuzzle from a fuzzy muzzle!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

This organization makes such a difference in the lives of its clients. I have been on the At-Risk Youth Advisory Board for only a short period of time but it's something that I am so passionate about already. Talk therapy does not work for everyone and that is why the horses become great therapeutic tools in the lives of so many. You cannot hide emotions with these horses because they have the ability to mirror you, which helps clients to be true with how they really feel. They are truly amazing, healing animals.

4 Danny24

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was first introduced to SRoL about 3 or 4 years ago. As a singer/songwriter and activist I have shared songs of mine that relate directly to our U.S. Veterans over the years to many non-profit organizations. I have also shared my heart and soul and continue to do so for the plight of our veterans is very near and dear to me as I continue to advocate for them.

Christianna Capra (CC) reached out to me when she heard that I was a singer/songwriter who advocates for our veterans and asked if I would perform at a fundraiser for SRoL. Well needless to say, I accepted the invitation with an open heart and mind. I was so curious to see and learn how these beautiful animals could help our veterans struggling with PTSD as I was not familiar with Equine Assisted Psychotherapy at that time. I immediately became close friends with CC as the passion and love that she shows for her horses and the veterans they're helping is contagious. I have spoken to many veterans who have benefited from spending time with these horses and they all share the same love for the service and especially the horses. We all know and see that the suicide rate for veterans has been climbing steadily for years now. I'm here to say that EAP WORKS! If you know of a veteran who is struggling PLEASE SEND HIM OR HER TO SRoL!.

Since that initial fundraiser I consider myself a member of the SRoL family as I've taken part in many of their events and fundraisers that have followed. CC's team of volunteers all share that same passion that she has and it's a such a heartwarming treat to see people who care so much about helping other people.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am United state veteran that has attended this program and I can honestly can say that this program and these people and horses have helped me immensely more so then the VA offers. They have shown me a better way if life through the passion of horsemanship. They have given me a hope fora better tomorrow despite the trauma I have suffered in combat and think these people and horses as well as the sponsors them to be able to continue their work to help other fellow veterans like myself

5 Allison65

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It’s a long story how I found myself here, but I knew after that first volunteering day with Spring Reins of Life in April 2015 I wanted to come back. I was immediately drawn to the story of how SRoL came to be, the herd, the humans, and the client groups served. I felt that something special was happening here and I was eager to be a part of it. I believe animals posses tremendous healing qualities but these horses take that to levels that blow my mind. How they know what to do for these clients in each situation is nothing short of amazing and magical in my opinion. These sessions are impacting the clients on the deepest level, truly changing their lives and helping them grow and heal. It doesn’t get any better than that. The bigger this group gets the more clients can be served. I feel honored and lucky to be part of the SRoL volunteer corps in raising awareness for this important work, to help care for this very special herd and be surrounded by amazing passionate people.

4 Kristin R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with Spring Reins of Life for almost four years. The work the horses and people do is life saving! I have heard stories from countless clients about the way horses help heal them. I look forward to continuing to support this therapy.

Previous Stories
7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been with this organization for just over two years. I can honestly say that it has given me more than I could ever give to it. I can't even count the number of times I hear people rave about the work they do and the lives they save. It is magical to be a part of the process. Kristin Rossi

6 Kerri12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Spring Reins of Life is an amazing organization. This nonprofit helps in a way that traditional therapy cannot. When words are too painful, this heartfelt arena can be just the setting where long lasting healing can begin.
Not only do the participants in the sessions receive healing, but also the volunteers and all who come in contact with the amazing herd report feelings of calm, centered, grounded and a sense of healing.
I have volunteered for 2 years, and I still can't wait to get there for my next visit.

6 Katie153

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with SROL for almost two years. The work that the horses (and humans!) do is incredible. We usually have an open house in the spring, which gives everybody the chance to see them work, up close and personal! So much hard (behind the scenes) work goes on with SROL. I know how much EVERY donation is greatly appreciated, and 90% of funding goes towards programming costs for trauma survivors. Nothing is wasted, and, luckily, labor is provided by volunteers. I cannot say enough good things about Spring Reins of Life. (as you may have noticed!!) Volunteering for SROL has helped ME in many ways, also.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While apprehensive when I first started volunteering, I quickly came to love this organization. With a leader who sacrifices so much in order to help children in need, its hard not to. Through equine therapy, SRoL has been able to help countless youth cope with the hardships in their lives and has made positive, lasting impacts on everyone involved.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing nonprofit! Helps so many different people from all walks on life. The horses are absolutely brilliant and can leave you speechless.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SROL changes and heals hurting humans. By using on the ground exercises with their equine partners unlocks deep hidden issues. I have been blessed to see lives begin the healing process. To watch the magic unfold will bring tears of joy. Many thanks to Christianna and her equine team.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I lost my husband and the father of our two girls, then 7 and 9 in June 2013, I was desperately seeking to find a grief therapist for my two girls who were deeply traumatized by the loss. However, when I started looking into children bereavement therapists, that were not traditional "talk" therapists. I found it extremely difficult to locate one. I even inquired through both mine and my late husband's companies Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and neither company could refer any alternative bereavement therapy other than the traditional "talk" counselors. I even went as far as asking a good friend of mine who is a high level HR executive at Pfizer and even he had a difficult time referring anyone to me. I was at a loss and knew I was looking for a needle in a haystack.

One thing I knew was that my children loved animals, so I started googling animal grief therapy methods. That's when I came across Spring Reins of Life. After reading about the co-founder who is a 9/11 widow, I immediately connected with her story and struggle to find a non-traditional approach to bereavement for kids.

When we went to the farm, at first, both girls were hesitant to work with the horses but within minutes, they adjusted to the most striking and gentle horses, Dane and Spring. An experience that made me a believer in this non-traditional approach was with my 7 year old. She was afraid to enter the pen at the first session but with the gentle coaxing and unending patience of CeC and Ro, she found the courage and went in. Once in, she immediately grew more and more confident in guiding the horse on her own. After that session, she started talking to me on the way home about her dad for the first time in months. This type of therapy amazed me as I saw my girls start to deal each week with the emotional loss of their dad, using no words but only expressing their feelings through these gentle creatures. Another experience was with my oldest daughter who was deeply traumatized by the loss and would not speak about it to anyone, not even me. Her only way to cope was by having major emotional outbursts and long crying fits. The week of her session, she had a tumultuous, emotional week with major ups and downs. When she went to equine therapy, she still had a lot of pent up emotions. As she entered the pen to try and lead Dane, the horse immediately ran swiftly around the pen, prancing up and down expressing major spurts of energy, and then when he finally settled down, he went right over to her. My daughter recognized how he felt and CeC talked to her about letting extra energy out and that maybe the horse could show her how to do that. CeC, Ro and I could see a “mirroring of my daughters emotional state”.

Both girls looked forward to going every week and made remarkable progress in being able to comprehend what happened and were able to take steps when ready to "talk" about their experience with me. Having a program like this is so important to families like mine and I am grateful they meet the needs of kids grieving. There are not many programs like this and they do an excellent job in taking the children where they are at in their grief and gently using the horses to help them cope using structured exercises at each session.

Thank you CeC and Ro, and thank you to the horses. We are indebted to you and this program!

Carolyn Alessi
Senior Public Policy Advocate
Nestlѐ Nutrition U.S

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a Mental Health Professional (LCSW) that works with SROL. As an MHP I have seen horses help the at risk youth in so many different ways. The horses have helped these kids increase self confidence, honesty and empathy. In addition, many youth that we have worked with have said that this is one form of therapy they have really enjoyed and wish they could do more of this therapy!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a horseperson, and after reading about how horses can help veterans recover from traumas I needed to find out more. I then not-so-coincidentally stumbled upon an organization that does that kind of work practically in my own backyard! The day I met CC and the horses of Spring Reins of Life was electrifying, and I knew this was an organization I needed to be involved in.

The deep and powerful healings experienced by the many veterans, bereaved children, at-risk youth, and other struggling souls whose lives have been touched by the energy and hearts of the Spring Reins of Life horses bring tears to my eyes every time their stories are recalled (and also as I'm typing this). The horses help open up whoever they're near to a new level of awareness, compassion, gentleness, connection and love for themselves and others

As a volunteer, I thought I was trying to help the horses so they could help others, but they (especially Straw) reached deeply into my soul and revealed the love, compassion and healing they give so honestly and freely, and forever changed my life

Please sign up to volunteer, or donate any way you can, to help the Spring Reins of Life horses help those who need it most. Thank you

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was involved with an SROL fundraiser this year and look forward to many more. The talented and highly dedicated staff and well-trained horses provide opportunities for healing to veterans and their families and at-risk youth. It is powerful to witness the positive changes that result from this unique kind of therapy.

4 VP P.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a mental health therapist at Spring Reins of Life, 501c3 who works primarily with the Veteran population, I can attest to the powerful, profound, and humbling experiences that are often shared during therapy sessions. Incorporating horses as part of the treatment team allows for our Veterans to process their stressors (often related to anxiety/ PTSD, depression, and interpersonal relationships) in a non-judgmental, non-threatening manner. For many of the Veterans that we provide services for, they have difficulty in verbalizing their emotions; this setting allows them to work through these stressors in a respectful, empathetic, and supportive manner. When working with horses, they can be verbal or non-verbal- activities that are in alignment with their presenting issues and treatment plan are presented, thus allowing the Veteran to make the activity meaningful for them. As the therapist, we can point out things that occurred in session, and often they tell their story through the interaction of the horse; this can be especially beneficial for Veterans who have reached blocks in or are resistant to talk therapy. Just being the presence of a horse is often powerful for them because they have the ability to connect with a being (horse) eye-to-eye, building self-confidence, self-efficacy, and increasing emotional awareness. They have the power and control to embark on a personal journey of healing on their own terms.

I cannot say enough positive things about how Spring Reins of Life has been able to positively impact many Veterans. Presently we are able to provide free services to a VA Medical Center and Vet Center due to the generous support of local businesses and individuals. We at Spring Reins of Life have the hope, drive, and desire to reach as many Veterans as we can to provide free therapeutic services because we believe in the power of healing that horses can provide. After each session, the incredible stories these Veterans have shared of hope, resilience, and strength bring tears to our eyes.

We hope to be able to reach and support Veterans and their supports for years to come. There is a growing need for this experiential, real-time therapy- the answers may just be found through interactions with a horse!

3 Lisa411

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to a demo about 2 1/2 yrs ago, curious about the connection between horses and healing from PTSD. I was immediately impressed by the power of this therapy and the passion of Spring Reins of Life's founder, Christianna Capra. I started volunteering with SROL and have loved every minute of it because we CHANGE LIVES. In fact, I believe wholeheartedly that this therapy SAVES LIVES. Perfect for those who won't or can't talk about their trauma.

4 Jamie71

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Spring Reins of Life is an incredible organization that my daughter and I have been a part of for the last 3 years as both volunteers and as a board member. I never understood the relationship between horses and people until I witnessed first hand the positive impact that these animals have on humans in need of healing. I have seen war veterans smile, be at peace, children laugh and at risk youth feel compassion after these therapy sessions. The bond between horse and human is real. The dedication of both the staff and volunteers shows that the human spirit is till alive !!