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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

35 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

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.

Linda438

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Melisa D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Horselover1998

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Claire V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

trod

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Love the people, the organization and the way healing is done with horses.