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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

STEPPING STONE FARMS SCHOOL OF HORSEMANSHIP

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Services, Animals

Mission: To foster resilience, responsibility and self esteem in at-risk youth and others, by experiencing the healing power of horses.

Target demographics: at-risk youth, Veterans, the disabled & others with mental health issues

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 50 riders with disabilites, over 120 disadvantaged youth, and 60 Veterans, many with PTSD

Geographic areas served: Southeast WI

Programs: therapeutic riding, adaptive riding, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning. programs for school groups, church groups and group therapy. Counseling for addictions, depression, PTSD, and Traumatic Brain Injury

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Stepping Stones Farm is truly a special place! I've been volunteering just over 5 months and can say that my BEST days are spent at the farm. From feeding & turning out horses, to mucking stalls & stacking hay.
We also very conscious of being an example of an environmental aware farm (re-using, recycling, composting) any chance we can!
But what is truly special to me is having the opportunity to participate (as a side walker) in lessons w/children & adults with special needs. To witness what happens when horses and humans connect is really beautiful. Seeing children who have difficulty talking/opening up and through the course of their lessons with Lia begin to smile, laugh and begin to talk and participate and interact with all of us is just an amazing, fun and humbling experience.
Stepping Stones Farm is such a beautiful farm and is such an asset to the people and the community it serves.
It is so important, now-more than ever, that everyone should know and experience first hand what a truly amazing place this is!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

my is Jason and i have been going to stepping stone for 3 years now and since i have been going there i have been getting better. I have MS and before i went to stepping stone i couldn't walk very well and i only had use of one arm and now i everything is better and i can walk better and my arm came back its all do to the therapy that they have my do and makes my brain work more and retrained it i enjoy going there

Donor

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of volunteering at Stepping Stone Farms since its beginning. I have seen firsthand the transformation that takes place when humans and horses meet. Folks with physical and mental challenges, veterans, at-risk teens, school groups, scout groups, lesson students, summer camp participants and others benefit from their experience at the farm in its peaceful setting. Activities and experiences are tailored to meet the abilities and needs of each of the clients. With twenty-eight horses, a donkey, a goat, chickens, ducks and cats, there's a just-right animal for each visitor.

Lia Sader's passion to provide these services is apparent. Stop by the farm and you will more than likely need to 'walk and talk' as you visit as she is always on the go. The volunteer staff works tirelessly to keep the horses healthy, maintain the farm, and support clients in their experiences.

Passion alone, however, isn't sufficient to support the farm and its mission. Lots of animals means lots of needs from food to veterinarian services. I have been fortunate to be able to contribute both volunteer and financial support to the farm. I get far more than I ever give. Seeing kids go from 'I can't' to 'I did it!' never gets old. And nothing can beat listening to a three year old sing 'You Are My Sunshine' to 'her' horse as she rides.

Stepping Stone Farms is a treasure.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been associated with Stepping Stone Farms since 2013. What started out as riding lessons for our daughter as a birthday gift transformed into something we never expected. My daughter, husband and I all have become farm volunteers. Words cannot express what it is like to be a part of life-altering changes...From children that can now walk, run or ride a bike because their bodies are strengthened and balance is improved to others with physical challenges that are able to get through their days with a little less effort because their muscles are being worked. When the quietest riders open up with their first words the magic begins. I have been blessed to help play a small part in some of these transformations and it humbles me. As with many small non-profits, funding can sometimes be challenging and it saddens me. It saddens me that a facility that does such profound work gets overlooked simply because they are small. Stepping Stone Farms is truly a blessing to all those it serves and is deserving of continued support. It certainly has mine!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Stepping Stone Farms since it's beginnings as a volunteer and a horse owner, I have worked with Lia Sader for longer than that, and it's clear her passion for horses and helping through horses shines with Stepping Stone Farms. I have seen and experienced the transformational power that interacting with horses can have, and it's hard to deny these truths when children who won't talk or open up to anyone start to blossom when interacting with horses. We have worked with at-risk youth to empower them to understand the give-and-take of hard work and the rewards of a job well done and a new found skill (learning to ride). Children and adults alike of all abilities have benefited from the healing power of horses and I am forever in support of this farm and their mission.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer, I have personally witnessed the transformation the farm, the horses and the therapists has on at-risk youth and others. It has such a positive impact on so many in the community. There is not a more deserving non-profit worthy of financial support!

Donor

Rating: 5

I’ve been around Stepping Stone Farms since it was founded in 2004. Their continuing dedication to impact the lives of adults and children is truly inspiring. It’s a joy to see so many smiles on the faces of those who visit the farm.

Donor

Rating: 5

I volunteered for the first time a month ago and was completely impressed with the organization and what they do for the community. So much so in fact that I’m having my employer take out money from each paycheck in order to make a more significant donation in 2018.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Stepping Stone Farms since 2005 and have seen first hand the tremendous transformations in both people and animals. This is a place that everyone (people and horses alike) flourish. They are extremely well run and give so much back to the community in countless ways. I wish more people knew about Stepping Stone Farms!

2 MaryJo S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I met Lia in Oct. 2008 when I fresh out of in patient recovery/detox for severe Alcoholism. I needed to fill my "drinking time" with a now positive, non-drinking activity. Stepping Stone Farms was having their annual Open House/Fundraiser at the old barn in Mukwanego and I went to check it out. I so enjoyed watching the kids with the horses and meeting Lia for the first time. I took many photographs and told Lia I would print copies of them and drop them off for her. I had an amazing time and couldn't wait to get the pictures developed for her. I came out to the farm several days later and that was the beginning of my friendship with Lia and my now tangible love and admiration of horses. That day I came to the farm Lia was there by herself(very common as not many volunteers around during the cold, dark winter months), feeding and turning horses out. We jumped in the tool cat (Bobcat) and were talking. I told her of my past (Former 20 years in Law Enforcement , that I had moved back to Waukesha after a divorce and my struggle with Alcoholism) I told her I wanted to volunteer and could help her in anything she needed me to do. Within minutes she put me to work, dropping hay in the paddocks. She showed me how to halter a horse, lead the horse out of the stall through the barn and into the paddock. She showed me twice and next thing she told me to get a horse. I thought to myself, "what by myself?" I did not have much experience with horses and was a bit unnerved but I did it, under her watchful eye. It was exhilarating.I soon realized this was where God wanted me to continue my journey of healing (both from divorce and living a sober life). The horses saved my life and helped me through those first difficult months of sobriety. I began to learn so many things about horses through Lia's teaching. I never worked so hard (dirty, sweaty, covered with mud and hay in all places on my body)in all my life and loved every minute of it. I still do.

I became Lia's right hand gal (helping with chores ,several days a week doing back to back shift at times, with events, helping her start her Veterans programs and helping in the move to the new farm). Although I have moved back to Florida (we had a going away party for me at the Farm in Sept. 2012) I continue to support Stepping Stone Farms and Lia is my best friend. Whenever I come home to Wisconsin for a visit I stay at the Farm with Lia and jump right into chores within minutes of arriving. Lia has come down to Florida to visit and has gone out to the horse rescue where I now volunteer.

I have watched countless times how the horses and Lia have helped so many individuals (
"at risk youth" those suffering from Autism, those with developmental disabilities, individuals and groups suffering from PTSD and our Veterans as well as families that are in crisis) identify life issues that paralyze them with pain, fear, anxiety and stress and learn how to finally tackle those issues into a manageable life. I am living proof of the healing power of horses and the support and unconditional love found for all at Stepping Stone Farms. I am still a volunteer and cannot express my gratitude enough to Lia and the horses for saving my life. MaryJo Spencer

Lynn M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for the past 3 months and enjoy every aspect of Stepping Stones Farms. I have had the opportunity to participate in lessons with children and adults with special needs and have seen communication, confidence and independence blossom. It has been a truely rewarding experience.
My time working with the horses has been knowledgeable and a life changing learning each about their different personalities and the importance of human connections. Please continue to support Stepping Stones Farms in order for their important work to continue and benefit the lives of many!

Bette L.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Stepping Stone Farms School of Horsemanship is a quiet gem in the support of veterans and individuals with disabilities. Staff members build on the skills of the rider to encourage additional rider ability. This program has limited the need to use a wheelchair and given greater mobility in daily life. The best day of the week is ride day at the Farm.

Elle C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Stepping Stone Farms is an amazing place to be. The care and compassion they provide their clients with is outstanding!! They go above and beyond for everyone, their animals and the overall farm. I have never seen such a dedicated non-profit that incorporates animals and humans to providing support, guidance and training.
Truly amazing!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is an organization that rescues horses that then go on to help people. It's probably one of the best nonprofit organizations I work with that gets the least amount of attention. And its needs are great. I have seen horses transformed, now living happy and healthy lives after years of abuse and neglect. I have seen people who work with those horses who have been transformed after years of suffering from physical ailments (MS, strokes, brain injuries) and mental issues (depression, PTSD, ADHD, autism, etc.). When I'm having a bad day, there is nothing better than hanging with the horsies to get my head straight. And, they give riding lessons, too!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to volunteer at Stepping Stone Farms for 2 years.

Seeing the transformation in people through horse therapy is personally rewarding and awe inspiring.

The work and dedication the organization requires is only one of the many reasons I rate it a "5"!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Stepping Stone Farms has been an unbelievable experience for my family. After years of trying different Therapists and types of therapy to help my son with severe anxiety and ADHD, we were told to visit Stepping Stone Farms. My family felt very comfortable there. After a few visits I was able to see results. My son has been attending the Farm for almost two years now he’s transitioned into general ed, able to go on play dates, has joined sports, he interacts with peers. Stepping Stone Farms truly has done amazing things for my family as a whole!!! We love this place!